The Spanish healthcare system enjoys two remarkable accomplishments. It is among the least expensive per person among industrialized nations, in terms of the percentage of GDP it spends on healthcare. At the same time, it is ranked by the World Health Organization as among best in the world, based on a number of parameters including effectiveness and financial fairness. Spain has achieved this because of successful partnerships between government authorities and private companies, producing innovations in patient treatment and technology solutions for managing the healthcare system.

Spain gradually introduced Electronic Health Records (EHRs) during the past decade. By 2010, more than 95 percent of primary healthcare providers in Spain had used them, and more than 250 million prescriptions were being submitted electronically to pharmacies. These statistics place Spain among the leading users of this technology. A number of Spanish companies, including Informática El Corte Inglés, Everis, Indra, and Oesia, are international leaders in EHR technology.

The move to EHRs provides significant cost and time savings, facilitating coordination and use of resources and granting opportunities for improved treatment.

The vast amount of information that electronic records can amass and process will help advance the field of “personalised” medicine, where diagnoses or therapies for illnesses such as cancer will be individually tailored, assisted by data on a patient’s genetic profile and other relevant information. This has the potential both to improve patient treatment and trim healthcare costs, avoiding trials of expensive medicines that won’t work.

Internationalisation is fundamental principle of all Spanish Biotechnology and Healthcare companies. Spain’s National Cancer Research Center (CNIO) partnered with Stanford University and the Life Length company (a CNIO spinoff) in a study published in Cell in 2012 that focuses on what the human genome may eventually tell us about diseases.