Luis Campo, CEO of GE Healthcare Spain & Portugal, discusses the opportunities and challenges inherent in the Spanish healthcare system and the ways in which GE is collaborating with authorities to bring innovative solutions to Spanish patients.


How would you describe the legacy of GE Healthcare in Spain to date?

GE Healthcare has been operating in Spain for 60 years and currently has over 550 employees. We are present in a very broad range of industry areas and are collaborating with both the public and private spheres. We are active members of the Spanish Federation of Health Technology Companies (FENIN), FarmaIndustria, and cooperate with several scientific associations.

Our most important legacy is the trust of our customers and the impact on patients and these are reflected in our daily interactions. We have an enormous technology footprint in Spain, built through projects that we were trusted to develop.


What is GE Healthcare Spain’s strategic importance compared to the company’s other European subsidiaries and what would you say is the main challenge in the Spanish market?

Spain constitutes a priority market for GE Healthcare in Europe. Evidence of this could be seen during the acute years of financial crisis and austerity when GE continued to invest relentlessly in the country. Spain is, after all, blessed with one of the world’s best healthcare systems and populated with strong professionals, which renders the market a comparatively attractive place to be doing business.

The main challenge of the Spanish healthcare system is to sustain the level of quality our population expects while having to cope with increasing demand and cost pressures. At the same time, Spain has some pressing infrastructural needs resulting from several years of budgetary constraints, leading to a high degree of technological obsolescence. On these subjects, our customers rely on us for answers, facilitating them the incorporation of innovation that fits best for their clinical, operational and business needs.


How is GE Healthcare collaborating with the national government and with regional authorities on projects?

As a global company and industry leaders, we have the benefit of being present in more than 150 countries and healthcare systems. Through our international experience in other markets and breadth of clinical and operational solutions, we are able to support the authorities on their challenges. To succeed though, we put a strong focus on understanding and building mutual trust. As such, we try to stay very close to all the institutions, being these central administrations, academics hospitals and innovation agencies amongst others.

In Spain, we have established numerous partnerships with public and private institutions, responding these to different realities. Examples can range from regional digital projects to technology replacement of entire hospitals, from asset optimization risk-sharing models to innovation research or co-development project, as a standalone company or through partnerships with others.


What sort of innovative optimization techniques can GE Healthcare potentially offer?

Precision health is the big theme for GE Healthcare globally, and we are tying that into each part of our business. When it comes to optimization techniques, it is all about integrated data that will provide hospitals with information to take the right decisions.

Just to give one example, GE Healthcare is pioneering the concept of a hospital Command Centre, learning from other industries like the aviation sector. Having started in the US and a first of its kind in Europe, the Command Centre strives to transform how care is delivered and organized. Utilizing artificial intelligence, it will provide a clear, instant, and real-time overview and help staff make quick and informed decisions on how to best manage patient care. Staff will monitor a “wall of analytics” that constantly pulls in streams of real-time data from the multiple systems and advanced algorithms will help staff to anticipate and resolve bottlenecks in care delivery before they occur, recommending actions to enable faster, more responsive patient care and better allocation of resources. The possibilities, therefore, for doing things smarter are vast.


How ready is the Spanish healthcare system to embrace the emerging trends of the industry such as clinical digitalization?

Spain is a leading country in Europe in terms of early adaption of digital technology. We were one of the first countries in Europe to adopt PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication System) in one of our hospitals in Madrid. We are also one of the pioneers in the field of electronic prescription.

However, there are still areas in which we can develop further, from which I would highlight three major ones. The first is the use of advanced analytics and digital solutions on running hospital departments, such as operating rooms, being these critical areas where a significant amount of clinical activity and costs orbit around.

Secondly, the integration of patients between providers, hospitals and regions.

Thirdly, in the public sector, patient empowerment is still a big area to develop, since patients do not get all the information as they should. Through FENIN we’re running an annual report on Digital Transformation in the Spanish Public Sector. While the first conclusions will be available early 2019, we expect these to very aligned to the previous.


Where is GE Healthcare’s primary competition coming from and in which ways does GE Healthcare manage to differentiate itself from its rivals in terms of healthcare integration?

I cannot talk much about the competition but can share with you that we ambition to be the best company to help customers deliver Precision Health to patients, driving more individualized, precise and effective patient outcomes. This encompasses precision diagnostics, therapy and monitoring. To get there we’ll engage in strategic partnerships, such as the one announced with Roche earlier this year, aimed at creating an integrated digital diagnostics platform to improve oncology treatment. This will combine in-vivo with in-vitro, medical images with tissue, pathology, genomics and sequencing solutions.


What are the main priorities and challenges for GE Healthcare?

Our main priority is to match, or exceed, our customer expectations and continue being recognized as a major player and contributor for better health.

Another top priority is our team’s engagement and development since it is the engine that keeps us moving forward. We run numerous initiatives, many led by a hub of volunteer employees and re-evaluate ourselves on a yearly basis to understand the impact of these while identifying new improvement areas.

Finally, another priority is adapting the organization to a new context. Embracing digital, being more agile to operate and with a flexible and adaptable customer-oriented structure.