The latest technological trends in the healthcare sector

8 September 2023

Current challenges facing healthcare companies in France and the Basque Country  


The healthcare industry, a major economic sector in France and the Basque Country, is currently facing a number of challenges. Here is an overview of the major issues facing the healthcare sector today, whether linked to the current economic and social climate or specific to this industry: 


  • Regulatory developments: the French healthcare industry is strictly regulated. Medical ethics, safety, hygiene, supervision of research and development… The laws evolve as medical technologies evolve. 


  • Funding and financial pressure: the healthcare sector, like other sectors in France, is under financial pressure. For start-ups and small companies, it can be difficult to obtain funding in a context where clinical trials and research can be very expensive, and where the sector is under general financial pressure. Healthcare companies need to find ways of working better, with less funding than before, to increase the effectiveness of care while reducing costs. 


  • An aging population: with France’s demographics changing, and in particular an aging population and an increase in chronic illnesses, companies in the healthcare industry need to adapt their offerings and services to the needs of the population and to the current and future challenges of the sector. 


  • Strong competition and the attractiveness of the French market: healthcare companies in France and the Basque Country are facing strong international competition, which is driving them to develop and distribute high-quality, competitive products and services. As the French and European markets are highly attractive to foreign companies, it is nevertheless crucial to understand the ecosystem in which they operate, and in particular the relationships with the various players in the French healthcare system: this is what we, Basque Invest, can offer French and foreign companies wishing to expand into the market. 


  • The integration of new technologies and the digitisation of medical data: healthcare establishments and companies in the healthcare industry have been facing a real digital transformation for some years now. This involves managing large quantities of confidential health data, moving towards electronic records, and investing to integrate new technologies into working practices. 


What are the latest technological trends in the healthcare sector in France and the Basque Country? 


Artificial intelligence, digital health, mHealth (mobile health) and the IoT (Internet of Things) are just some of the major new technologies being applied to the healthcare sector.


As in many other sectors, artificial intelligence (or AI) is playing an increasingly important role in the healthcare sector. These techniques, which aim to simulate human intelligence via machines, are used to analyze data, aid medical diagnosis, personalize treatments and even predict clinical outcomes. In France, we are fortunate to have a highly dynamic ecosystem in the field of artificial intelligence for healthcare. With major pharmaceutical and technology companies, innovative start-ups and excellent research teams, France aims to become a leading country in digital health, by supporting and developing AI-related innovations.


In terms of new technological practices applied to the health sector, mobile applications have also become very popular for monitoring health and well-being. We can monitor our health parameters, track our medication and interact with healthcare professionals thanks to these new technologies: this is mHealth (or mobile health). 


Digital health (or e-health) is a very dynamic and important sector of the healthcare industry. It covers a wide range of initiatives in which information and communication technologies are used to improve health. Today, healthcare professionals and patients are increasingly using platforms to facilitate healthcare management and improve access to medical services.  


The Basque Country is home to a large number of technology companies in the digital health sector, with a strong international presence. Sophia Genetics, for example, has been based in the Basque Country since 2018. One of the world leaders in data-driven medicine, Sophia Genetics has been ranked among the 10 most innovative biotechs in the world (Fast Company). Thanks to Sophia Genetics, we can optimally diagnose a patient every 5 minutes! 


Ascaly, a digital company in the healthcare industry based in Anglet, in the Basque Country, also aims to facilitate the work of healthcare professionals. The company has developed a digital platform dedicated to medical employees, healthcare establishments, operating theater managers and medical equipment suppliers. 


IoT (Internet of things) devices are also used in the healthcare industry to monitor patients at home, collect medical data in real time and automate certain processes. These connected devices enable better management of chronic illnesses and early intervention in the event of health problems. 


Virtual reality or augmented reality is also beginning to be used in the healthcare industry, as part of computer-assisted surgery, or even to relieve patients’ pain through soothing environments. Similarly, medical robotics are increasingly being used in surgery for more precise procedures. Robots can also be used in patient care, particularly for rehabilitation or for the elderly. 


What advantages does the Basque Country have to offer a company in the healthcare sector?


The health sector in the Basque Country is a very dynamic industry, with a very large ecosystem of companies. From suppliers of medical equipment and health establishments to digital health start-ups, this is a sector of excellence in the Basque Country. Business clusters and groupings have been created over the years, so that healthcare companies in the Basque Country can benefit from synergies and development opportunities (e.g. Ginkgo Biloba – Living Lab Pays Basque, created by the Ramsay Santé group). 


Basque Invest has been helping companies in the healthcare industry to set up in the Basque Country for many years. Thanks to our expertise, we can advise you on your strategy for setting up in France and the Basque Country.