Medical innovations in Poland

Medical innovations in Poland

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought digital solutions and medical innovations into widespread usage faster than expected. The digitization of services in the medical industry is slowly becoming commonplace. Telemedicine and remote health care are the most important directions of development in this industry, and the most dynamically developing field of knowledge are mechanisms using artificial intelligence and machine learning. The pharmaceutical industry is still at the forefront in implementing innovation in Poland.

The situation of the medical innovations in Poland

According to the Global Innovation Index (GII) report „Creating a healthy living environment – the future of innovation in medicine” from 2019, Poland is in 39th place in the world ranking and 26th among European countries in terms of innovations in medicine.

The results of the research carried out by Statistics Poland on innovative activities in 2017–2019 conducted by industrial and service enterprises show that the pharmaceutical industry is in 3rd place in the field of innovations implementation in Poland. Producers of pharmaceutical products accounted for 54.1% of innovative enterprises, among which 40.7% of enterprises introduced new or improved products, 38.5% new or improved business processes, and 33.3% new or improved products and business processes.

In June 2021, a new project called Warsaw Health Innovation Hub was inaugurated to support the development of biotechnology and innovative solutions in Poland. The initiative aims to connect the public sector with business to create innovative medical, technological, and legal solutions.

Telemedicine

According to the Deloitte report „The future of virtual health”, telemedicine and remote health care are the most important direction in the development of the medical industry. It is believed that by 2040 at least 25% of outpatient procedures, prophylaxis, long-term care, and wellbeing services will already be provided remotely.

In Poland, examples of such solutions include telemedicine, telemetry, or remote monitoring. Currently, nobody can imagine life without e-prescriptions or e-sick leaves anymore. There are also applications dedicated to medical institutions and hospitals, as well as tools supporting the needs of patients and doctors, e.g., the Comarch HealthNote online health book.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning

According to the NCBiR data, one of the main trends visible in the applications submitted in PO IR competitions is artificial intelligence and machine learning in both medicine and biotechnology. Research is directed mainly towards diagnostics (primarily in the oncology segment), drug development (introducing innovative drugs to the market, for which artificial intelligence is used) and telemedicine (using machine learning techniques or artificial intelligence to make quick therapeutic decisions). Segments such as bioinformatics and machine learning, new therapeutic methods and the development of immuno-oncology are also rapidly developing.

The dynamic increase in interest in artificial intelligence can be seen in the start-up sector. 115 projects were included in the review of innovative medical start-ups in Poland „Top Disruptors in Healthcare 2021”. According to the report, these start-ups are developing mainly in the areas of telemedicine (63 start-ups, i.e. 55% of respondents) and AI (43 start-ups, i.e. 34% of respondents), but there are also issues of supporting rehabilitation, clinical trials, education, and medical data, or those combining medicine with robotics. Start-ups include, for example, BrainScan (the use of artificial intelligence to automate and accelerate imaging diagnostics based on computed tomography), ABA Stroke (a digital drug applicable in cognitive therapy of people after stroke) and Life Flow (a non-invasive method of diagnosing atherosclerosis based on algorithms used in computational fluid mechanics, CFD, based on image data).

Robotic surgery

Innovation in medicine also includes modern medical equipment. Surgical robots cause that the surgical procedures are reduced, and their quality is improved, while at the same time complications and the period of hospitalization are reduced. Robots have been used routinely in surgery since the beginning of the 21st century. There are 15 authorized da Vinci surgical robots in Poland – although called a robot, they are in fact advanced surgical manipulators. CorPath GRX and ExcelsiusGPS surgical systems are also operating in Poland. There is still an emphasis on developing and introducing innovations also in the segment of intelligent diagnostic systems.

Biomaterials

A significant trend is also the dynamic development of the biomaterials and bioprinting sector. Biomaterials are materials that can be used to produce devices and elements that come into direct contact with the body’s tissues, e.g. implants, pacemakers, or endotracheal tubes. „It seems that the development of these technologies has been stimulated by the wide availability of 3D printing, which enables the design and manufacture of elements that were previously impossible or difficult to manufacture. However, this sector is still at an early stage of development, and many projects are still in the research phase and require cost-intensive medical verification and certification” (NCBR).

Author: Marta Dzienkiewicz

Sources:

Analiza trendów badawczych we wnioskach o dofinansowanie składanych do NCBR w ramach PO IR w latach 2016-2019 (Analysis of research trends in applications for co-financing submitted to the NCBR under the PO IR in 2016-2019), www.gov.pl/web/ncbr/analiza-trendow-badawczych.

Top Disruptors in Healthcare 2021, www.medfinance.pl/uploads/files/documents/Top_Disruptors_in_Healthcare.pdf.

Działalność innowacyjna przedsiębiorstw w latach 2017-2019 (Innovative activity of enterprises in 2017-2019), GUS (Statistics Poland), www.stat.gov.pl/obszary-tematyczne/nauka-i-technika-spoleczenstwo-informacyjne/nauka-i-technika/dzialalnosc-innowacyjna-przedsiebiorstw-w-latach-2017-2019,2,18.html.

Innowacje w medycynie (Innovations in medicine), www.automatykab2b.pl/gospodarka/53045-innowacje-w-medycynie-polska-na-39-miejscu-global-innovation-index-2019.

Innowacje rewolucjonizują medycynę. Bez cyfrowych rozwiązań służba zdrowia nie poradziłaby sobie w czasie pandemii (Innovation is revolutionizing medicine. Without digital solutions, the health service would not cope during a pandemic), www.biznes.newseria.pl/news/innowacje-rewolucjonizuja,p968278675.

11 polskich innowacji z branży biomedycznej rusza na podbój rynku (11 Polish innovations in the biomedical industry set out to conquer the market), www.medinwestycje.pl/11-polskich-innowacji-z-branzy-biomedycznej-rusza-na-podboj-rynku.

Pod patronatem Premiera Mateusza Morawieckiego Prezes ABM powołał Warsaw Health Innovation Hub (Under the patronage of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, the President of ABM established the Warsaw Health Innovation Hub), www.abm.gov.pl/pl/aktualnosci/975,Pod-patronatem-Premiera-Mateusza-Morawieckiego-Prezes-ABM-powolal-Warsaw-Health-.html.

Chirurgia robotowa (Robotic Surgery) w Europie i w Polsce (Robotic Surgery in Europe and Poland), Jastrzębski Tomasz, www.onkonet.pl/dp_chirurgia_robotowa_europa_i_polska.php.

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