The public health crisis during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic put the health system at risk due to a lack of equipment for treating critically ill patients as well as other devices and materials needed to protect healthcare personnel. Faced with this situation, many innovative initiatives have emerged to respond to those needs that have arisen.
In order to provide a coordinated and agile response to the need for new technology, the Catalan Agency for Health Quality and Assessment (AQuAS) and the TIC Salut Social Foundation have helped to establish an inter-institutional cross-cutting working group, which has worked collaboratively with members in the fields of innovation, assessment, regulation, operational planning and care provision.
The main focus of this working group has been on those innovative uses of approved products and authorized products that have required some R&D&I (research, development and innovation) in order to be able to respond to the COVID-19 crisis as well as any de novo innovation (new products and prototype development) of any type of healthcare technology (except drugs and digital solutions).
The purpose of this working group has been to establish a coordinated and synergistic process to analyse needs, detect innovation, evaluate and prioritize initiatives, provide support in their development and regulation and, finally, where appropriate, assess their
application for decision-making. Information on the initiatives has been obtained mainly through data collection forms that has allowed them to be categorized.
The report includes 33 innovative initiatives Part of the work carried out by the working group has been included in a recently published report which includes the initiatives developed up to 31 July 2020, classified according to their type. The report details the type device and the regulations that apply to it, a brief description of the characteristics of the initiatives and their critical points and, finally, an assessment and analysis of their current status. In total, 33 innovative initiatives have been included, the most common of which are those involving the development of mechanical ventilation support devices such as Ambu bag ventilators and automated ventilators (15).
The working group has assessed each initiative according to its characteristics, current regulations and available studies. However, further evidence is needed before more specific recommendations can be issued. This collaborative work involving different institutions and the participation of many of the key actors has provided a 360º perspective which has been fundamental in focusing innovation and its practical implementation on where it is really needed.
More information is available at the following: https://aquas.gencat.cat/ca/ambits/ossc/oigs/innovacio-tecnologica-sanitaria-covid19/
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