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Recap: Dana Farrugia Participates in Digital Health Malta X Frontiers Health Conference November 2020 - November 13, 2020 - 0 comments


Malta ranks 5th globally for its overall healthcare performance

Malta has a long legacy in healthcare

  • Malta has a long-standing history in medicine and healthcare
  • A rich history that features the Knights Hospitallers from the Sixteenth through to the Eighteenth Century and a hard-earned reputation as the “nurse of the Mediterranean” during the First World War, has given Malta a solid base of Healthcare experience that has continued to evolve in quality over the years
  • Indeed, today Malta ranks 5th globally for its overall healthcare performance and a fast-growing life sciences cluster
  • Also, its digital and technology sector and forward-looking economic and investment policy make Malta a uniquely positioned regional hub for digital health

A hard-earned reputation as the “nurse of the Mediterranean”

Dana Farrugia participates in Digital Health Malta X Frontiers Health Conference - November 2020

Digital health – a unique opportunity especially in a post-COVID world

  • The pandemic has shown the importance of having digital health infrastructure and the potential such a sector can have on the economy through investment, quality jobs and better services for patients
  • I would say that Tech.MT is very interested in developing a digital health ecosystem which is based on a number of pillars and which Maltese companies are already present and succeeding in them already

The key areas and pillars of a digital health sector

Before going into the focus on Malta I think it would be good to outline the key themes I Believe Malta has a lot of potential to focus on:

  • Smart Care – here we are looking at precision medicine, robotics and medical 3D printing. Here Malta has a unique opportunity given our size, homogenous population and DNA bank to focus on precision medicine. Also, with respect to 3D printing, Malta can serve as a regional hub for this growing technology
  • Care anywhere – here we look at virtual care and connected health systems; even here Malta should really focus on digital health records and the use of telemedicine platforms. This area is growing especially post-COVID and I believe that given our size Malta can really be a testbed for these technologies
  • Empowered care – here the focus is on healthcare and prevention and even here we saw Maltese companies enter this market of wearable devices. As we progress further towards IoT and 5G Malta should place itself as a testing hub
  • Intelligent healthcare enterprise – here with the onset of big data, intelligent devices Malta can truly be attractive for players in this sector

Malta has the capacity to attract companies

In each of these niche areas of digital health, Malta has the capacity to attract companies as well as develop its own native company. We already have a number of such companies in Malta which are expanding and attracting international investment.

Synergies between other sectors make Malta ideal platform

Malta also has innovation parks for ICT companies willing to invest and develop innovative IT products

  • Malta has a very active life-sciences cluster, with well-established operations in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals and medical devices, the production of software for the healthcare industry as well as a growing health tourism sector.
  • Malta Enterprise also developed a Life Sciences Park to attract further investment and places this campus close to Malta’s national and teaching hospital and the University of Malta
  • In addition, Malta also has innovation parks for ICT companies willing to invest and develop innovative IT products

 Malta as a regional health hub

  • Malta has a unique service offering to make it suitable for a regional hub
  • As a starter, its health and life sciences sectors make it well placed for a digital health ecosystem to develop
  • There is an already dedicated sector of pharma, R&D and also most recently medical cannabis
  • Malta is also well-suited for clinical trials and therefore the collaboration between research and industry is very conducive to such projects
  • In addition, our small and homogenous population has allowed a lot of medical research in areas of heart disease and blood cells make it very attractive for health companies to operate in the area
  • From ICT and digital perspective, Malta has a robust sector that is already home to a number of companies also in the digital health and medical device sphere

Additional factors making Malta more attractive

  • The physical facilities available on the island are further backed up by a raft of attractive support measures designed specifically to assist companies in Research and Development activities.
  • This includes a mix of grants and tax credit schemes which support investors and project promoters in their funding needs
  • Additionally, Malta offers an attractive tax system and skilled workforce; coupled with its proximity to mature and developing markets make it an ideal centre for digital health
  • The nearby North African and Middle East markets are tempting candidates for health care providers’ investment and expansion strategies, serviced from a stable location with a strong healthcare background such as Malta
  • An ideal centre for digital health

Tech.MT has a key role to play

  • MT was set-up to support companies in technology to set-up in Malta and also Maltese firms to further internationalise
  • It is for this reason that we believe that digital health has a lot of potential for Malta as the island is well-placed to serve as a testing and regional hub for these services
  • It is therefore critical that all stakeholders and authorities embrace the future of digital health and develop an ecosystem around it as Malta can truly benefit from the long run; not just from an economic perspective but also from a patient perspective

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