What the UK could learn from Germany’s dominance in health tech

Posted on 16 Dec 2019 by The Manufacturer

While the UK health tech scene is booming, there are valuable lessons to be learnt in the art of collaboration, and Ali Ghaidan believes that looking to Germany is a good place to start.

In order to stand out in the crowded and competitive health tech space, it’s vitally important that companies collaborate with researchers, manufacturers and other health tech providers.

Health Workforce Health Tech Wellbeing Medicine Pharma - image courtesy of Depositphotos.Why is Germany the dominant force?

German industry has always been known for quality and its health tech manufacturing sector is no different. In terms of their dominance in the health tech world, the numbers speak for themselves.

Companies are attracted by Germany’s high-quality infrastructure, skilled workforce and excellent regulation standards. With medical products, the words ‘Made in Germany’ can often be seen as a guarantee of quality.

It’s not just well-manufactured products that contribute to a good health tech landscape though, however important that may be. Innovation is the lifeblood of health tech, and Germany creates an environment where innovation is encouraged, fostered and achieved.

It was only in April 2019 that Jens Spahn, Minister for Health in Germany, launched the Health Innovation Hub in Berlin.

The hub acts as a platform for all relevant stakeholders in the healthcare industry to share ideas and collaborate, allowing innovation to flourish.

The geographic clusters of SMEs in Germany also make cooperation with academic, scientific and manufacturing partners much easier. For example, SMEs can get ahead by developing new technologies, often working together with one of Germany’s many highly prestigious research institutes.

Health Workforce Wellbeing Medicine Pharma - image courtesy of Depositphotos.

This allows Germany’s health tech industry to continue innovating and thriving.

What could Britain learn?

Following Germany’s lead on creating pioneering government-supported health tech hubs would be an excellent place to start.

These hubs could help to bring companies, researchers and other stakeholders together to create physical spaces across Britain, dedicated to collaboration and innovation.

At RMDM, our PanTum Detect technology benefited from its research base and manufacturer being in close proximity. I believe that face-to-face contact is always better in the context of developing professional relationships and health innovation hubs could facilitate such contact.

In addition to fostering physical spaces, a digital platform could complement these spaces and act as a one-stop shop for advice, events listings and important regulatory announcements.

The portal could host webinars by individuals working across the healthcare sector, from successful business owners to NHS doctors and procurement managers. Investing in both physical and digital spaces for tech companies to connect, share and develop will allow the UK’s booming tech scene to thrive.

The Future

If Britain can replicate Germany’s ability to create health tech clusters around the country, each with their own specialty, we could kick start a health tech revolution built on collaboration, transparency and communication.

In Germany, 60% of Germany’s electro-medical equipment is made in Bavaria. In Berlin, there is the famous ‘Health Capital Berlin Brandenburg’ cluster, known for companies specialising in medical imaging.

If the UK could create its own health tech Bavaria in Bedfordshire and its own ‘Health Capital’ in Cumbria, then it might be able to compete with Germany’s dominance.

This would provide UK health tech businesses with the opportunity to develop and innovate alongside their competitors, creating an environment in which new partnerships can always be created and important research always developed.

By creating a culture of open collaboration, the UK can truly be world leaders in the health tech.

Ali Ghaidan is CEO of RMDM – a london-headquartered company at the cutting-edge of linking traditional medicine with pioneering diagnostics and nutritional products.

*All images courtesy of Depositphotos