Digital health ecosystem in Barcelona

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Barcelona became a very famous city for it’s architecture, food, startups, investors, technology, mobile, smart city projects, IOT, digital health, etc. Today I would like to talk more about digital health: main startups, projects and statistics.

Spain is among top ranked countries for its standard of healthcare, according to new research.

The Healthcare Access and Quality Index (HAQ) studied the quality of healthcare in 195 countries by measuring mortality rates from causes that should not be fatal in the presence of effective medical care. Spain gained very high scores.

The system of healthcare in Barcelona is of a high quality and holds a good reputation among locals and expats. Even international patients have taken notice of the country’s exceptional treatment, and a huge amount of foreigners travel to Barcelona as medical tourists. As a result, both the public and private healthcare sectors in the city have improved their facilities to meet and even exceed expectations.

Barcelona is renowned for its powerful life sciences research and the quality of the healthcare system. Barcelona has produced world-leading scientists in the fields of cancer, HIV, ophthalmology, oncology, women’s health and many other fields. Celebrities and millionaires come to Barcelona to fix their health issues.

Digital health ecosystem in Barcelona

Government supports a lot health care system in Barcelona. Barcelona’s capacity to attract international talent, and a dynamic entrepreneurial fabric makes the city a perfect place for starting a new businesses in healthcare. This rich ecosystem has boosted a powerful startup scene in which digital health businesses have flourished. In Barcelona, many startups are working on digital solutions to improve the way we get healthcare services. Actually, Barcelona became one of the top digital health hubs in Europe because of it’s facilities, easy access to finance and entrepreneurship ecosystem. The installation of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in Barcelona would be a great boost for health startups. Barcelona is among the cities that are bidding for it after the Agency was forced to leave London as a result of the Brexit. Apart from this, Barcelona hosts world’s largest cardiology congress every year.

Biocat, the foundation that promotes the life sciences and health sector in Catalonia, created Moebio in 2013, an initiative that brings together different training programs to accelerate entrepreneurship and innovation in the digital health field. One of Moebio’s flagship programs is Design Health Barcelona (d · HEALTH Barcelona), a postgraduate program to develop entrepreneurs and future leaders in healthcare innovation. The course, based on the prestigious Stanford University’s Biodesign Fellowship program, focuses on needs-based innovation and guides multidisciplinary teams of students through a full cycle of innovation, from the identification of needs to the design and prototyping of a viable solution, as well as the search for financing. Several business projects have already emerged from the program and 97% of the alumni have found work in the digital health sector. Another Moebio’s flagship program is CRAASH Barcelona, a 12-week course that helps European research teams successfully launch their innovative medical devices to the market, for example,  e-health diagnostics and digital health that contribute to an improvement of digital health and patient care. The teams transfer their research to the market guided by expert mentors from CIMIT (Boston), the world’s most experienced health accelerator.

According to Barcelona & Catalonia Startup Hub, there are over a hundred startups focused on digital health in Barcelona. Some are recognised internationally and have commercial success, such as Doctoralia, a platform that allows to find doctors and get appointments in 20 countries and it has close to 200 million users a year. Several years ago the company merged with DocPlanner and they became the leading online platform to search doctors.

Barcelona is working hard in terms of technology, it is currently makes a name for itself as the Mobile World Capital. And it has been making news at the forefront of certain healthcare, including organ transplants and performing the world’s first Google Glass surgery, performed by knee replacement prodigy Dr. Pedro Guillen. Now, Barcelona tries to become a world leader in mHealth using latest technologies.

Digital health in Barcelona: statistics & facts

According to Biocat, Barcelona is among the top European tech hubs:

  • London – Scientific & Economic Capital
  • Munich – Big Innovative Companies
  • Barcelona – Biomedical & TIC
  • Berlin – attractive for entrepreneurs
  • Stockholm – allied health technologies

Also, it is among highest ranked countries generating the biggest VC return:

  • Barcelona
  • London
  • Amsterdam

There are hundreds of healthcare events hosted in Barcelona every year, some of the most popular ones are: Eyeforpharma, Healthio, Bio Europe Spring, ESC Congress – European Society of Cardiology and many others.

Key players of the bioregion

  • Biotech
  • Supplier & Engineering
  • Professional Services
  • Healthtech
  • Medtech (R&D)
  • Pharma
  • Research Centers
  • Investment Entities
  • University Hospitals
  • Science & Technology Parks
  • Universities
  • Technology centers
  • Large scale facilities

Barcelona’s health care expertise

Barcelona is very well known for Oncology & Immunotherapy, Neurosciences, Global Health, Veterinary, Genomics & Epigenetic, Nanotechnology, Bioengineering, Photonics, Medical Chemistry.

Currently there are other areas that are growing in demand and Barcelona becomes leader in these fields as well: Regenerative Medicine, Microbiome, Artificial Intelligence & Robotics, E-Health & M-Health, Graphene, Quantum Computing.

Barcelona VS international competitive R&D system

  • #9 CRG in the top 100 best biomedical centers in the world
  • #1 ICIQ World institution in chemistry
  • #1 ICFO World institution in physics
  • UB – among the top scientific production universities in the world
  • UB & UAB – among the 200 best in the world

Accelerators in the health care at the bioregion

These are the top accelerators, that empower start-ups and entrepreneurs to scale up their business:

  • Life sciences: Biocat, Moebio, Neostart, Caixaimpulse, Healthu, Spire, etc
  • Digital health: Bayer, Tech4health, Esteve, Nae, etc

Pier health (#digitalhealth) hub in Barcelona

Barcelona Tech City, the startup Mediktor and Fundació Privada Sant Pau  are opening a new digital health (#digitalhealth) hub in Barcelona next September. The hub will be located in Sant Pau Art Nouveau, a stunning architectural site that was Sant Pau Hospital for 500 hundred years. Among the startups that have showed interest in the project are TopDoctors, Medtep, Psious or Iomed (winner of the EC2VC contest). The hub will be called Pier Health and will be the house of digital health startups and big healthcare organisations -including pharma and insurers- that will support innovation activities. Pier Health will be opened in September with a space of 1,000 square meters and it has the potential to grow up to 10,000 square meters.

Top digital health startups in Barcelona

Last year, up to 10m was invested in startups like: bionure, inkemia, transmural biotech, transplant, social diabetes, som biotech, zeclinics, usmima, promofarma, inbiomotion, iproteos, peptomyc, arboribus, devicare, good gut, idppharma, cebiotex, leukos, cuantum med-cos, clinic point, greenaltech, thrombotargets, etc. And there are others who are worth mentioning!

1. Doctoralia
Doctoralia is the global platform, where healthcare professionals and medical centers can promote their practices, and patients can find, review and book appointments online.
Doctoralia serves 11 Million monthly users and is available in 21 countries: Spain, France, Italy, United Kingdom, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, Canada, Portugal, India, U.S.A., Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Russia, Netherlands, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, United Arab Emirates, Peru and Australia.

2. Joyners
Joyners is a healthcare startup that this year is expected to multiply its revenue by 6. It is an online platform that connects caregivers for older people with families that are in need of these services. The company selects experienced caregivers – nurses and social workers – who then enter their profile on the platform and they geolocalize themselves. Workers are marked and get comments by the customers. The company started in Barcelona and they are now in Madrid, Valencia, and Zaragoza.

3. Pharmacelera
Pharmacelera is another health care startup in Barcelona that thinks big. It focuses on high-performance computing to find molecules that might turn into valuable drugs. It is based in Pier01, an historical building by Port Vell that hosts startups with a technological base. Pharmacelera is being mentored by mVentures, a program by Mobile World Capital Foundation, and it has financial support from private investors, former senior executives from Bayer, Novartis, etc., business angels and public funds. Basically, it develops disruptive hardware and software solutions to increase the productivity of pharmaceutical R&D.

4. Medtep
Medtep is a solution that allow doctors to follow patients with an online tool that tracks medication adherence, symptoms, physical activity and other parameters. The solution can be customised for various conditions and it adapts to the patient needs. The doctor can design a personalised Action Plan for each patient. The goal of Medtep is to empower patients and facilitate the doctors’ work as it’s been proved that empowered patient achieve better outcomes and have a better quality of life. The team is now focused on developing the product with the idea that it becomes agile, easily scalable and flexible to adapt to different types of patients.

5. Psious
Psious is all about smartphone-based Virtual Reality Therapy. It uses 3D goggles and an Android app and doctors,therapists can help patients overcome fears like of flying, acrophobia, claustrophobia, agoraphobia, among other, as well as relaxation and Mindfulness environments through virtual reality exercises. It is made by psychologists, using hyper-realistic virtual environments to treat anxiety disorders by means of virtual exposure therapy.

6. SocialDiabetes
It is all about diabetes support To-Go. SocialDiabetes is a self-management system with immediate insulin adjustment. SocialDiabetes is a digital health company dedicated to transforming the treatment for type 1 and type 2 Diabetes. They develop software solutions to help people with diabetes improve their daily life and clinical outcomes, by combining personalized insights with real-time data and actionable information. Their mission is to lead the transition from old fashioned paper logbooks and strict activity protocols to a tech driven self-care system that provides a whole new experience to the patient.

7. Heartgrain
Heartgrain is an innovative platform that brings together all professionals of alternative medicine in an international and specialized online eco system. The platform provides remote consultation services & health procedures and connects health professionals with those seeking holistic and natural well being.

8. LokaTrain
Lokatrain is a location based app to discover fitness professionals in your area, connect with those you like, and schedule training sessions. Excellent way to discover the best workouts, trainers, and nutritionists in your neighborhood, connect with the ones you like, and schedule workout sessions.

9. Wefitter
It is a data-drive wellness app that helps companies optimize employee’s health, by motivating them to have a more active lifestyle. WeFitter helps organizations improve business performance and reduce healthcare costs by improving employee engagement through gamification and rewarding.

10. BioExpert Network
The BioExpert Network is an exclusive network of experts in the sectors of life science and investment. Members have the opportunity to access and evaluate funding proposals for innovative research and development projects before anyone else, and help shape the future of life science. Only proposals which receive the most positive responses, in terms of novel concepts, scientific validity and financial accuracy successfully progress to funding campaign.
PhD level scientists, physicians, IP lawyers, life science entrepreneurs, specialist investors and industry consultants participate in this process.

11. Mammoth Hunters
Mammoth Hunters offers a mobile native solution for a healthy lifestyle. Mammoth Hunters allows you to workout from anywhere with functional training sessions and offers customized nutrition plans based on your training goals.

12. Mediktor
The aim of Mediktor is to develop digital & mobile health solutions based on artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques. It is a pre-diagnose and triage solution, that covers the most prevalent pathologies at the Emergency Services.

13. Devicare
Devicare is a leader in the care of chronic patients. Its activity focuses on developing innovative solutions for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment and monitoring of chronic diseases, especially those that can be controlled from the patient’s home to improve patient’s quality of life.
Their strategy is to make agreements with hospitals, universities, technology centers, professional societies, etc. with which they work hard to incorporate technologies and knowledge that enable them to develop products and services through an open innovation model.

14. Optretina
OPTretina is the first network of Opticians Optometrists and Ophthalmologists for the prevention of blindness. Thanks to the Internet they evaluate retinal images remotely and provide a medical report within 48 hours. They have developed a very effective and inexpensive screening system to detect signs of retinal diseases at an early stage.

15. Transmural Biotech
Its main field of expertise is focused on the application of Imaging Processing Techniques to the development of Medical Technologies, mainly oriented to the development of automatic diagnosis tools for complex pathologies. Transmural Biotech has an excellent track record in the development of both national and international R&D projects involving intersectorial collaboration and a substantial number of patents.

16. Promo Farma is the leading online marketplace of consumer health and wellness products, enabling thousands of customers to purchase the best beauty, baby and health products directly from hundreds of pharmacies and other health merchants.

17. Mediquo 

MediQuo is the WhatsApp of the medicine, where users can consult all their medical and wellness questions directly with a medical professional or specialist. They have reached over 20,000 medical chats in a month. Users have the option of speaking with a specialist doctor with an instant response. This app burst into the health market with a round of 3 million. Its operation is very simple, once the app is downloaded, in less than 3 min you will be able to be in touch with specialists such as pediatricians, gynecologists, cardiologists, psychologists, nutritionists, sexologists and personal trainers, among others

I hope you found this article useful! If you are interested in latest digital trends, tips and events, I highly recommend you to subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

And if you want to discuss the possibilities for your company, please contact us, we will be happy to discuss your project!

Btw, if you found this article interesting, you might like…

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A list of 20 most active venture capital investors in Spain 

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The 28 entrepreneurship books to read

Top 20 promising startups in Barcelona to watch

Human centered innovation: careers, benefits & examples 

Barcelona makes it to the top 5 of innovation hubs

Top smart city projects & leaders to watch

Disruptive technology & innovations to track


  • Ekaterina Novoseltseva

    Ekaterina Novoseltseva is an experienced CMO and Board Director. Professor in prestigious Business Schools in Barcelona. Teaching about digital business design. Right now Ekaterina is a CMO at Apiumhub - software development hub based in Barcelona and organiser of Global Software Architecture Summit. Ekaterina is proud of having done software projects for companies like Tous, Inditex, Mango, Etnia, Adidas and many others. Ekaterina was taking active part in the Apiumhub office opening in Paseo de Gracia and in helping companies like Bitpanda open their tech hubs in Barcelona.


  1. Farma-Amparo

    Very interesting!

  2. Dirk Thevenin

    Very good content. Want to use this.

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