Lalis Fontcuberta: “Working in the healthcare sector has very tangible rewards”
Lalis Fontcuberta studied Business, International Trade and Market Techniques and Research, but the chance to have a real impact on patients’ lives ended up leading her into the healthcare sector. She was working at Sanofi when she joined d·HEALTH Barcelona, a postgraduate program to develop innovators and entrepreneurs in the healthcare sector, following the Stanford biodesign methodology. She did her clinical immersion at Hospital Clinic de Barcelona. After years in the pharmaceutical industry, she is now working as a specialist in lean management and patient experience.
When you chose your degree, what did you want to do after?
I applied for many different positions because I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go professionally. I was doubting between consultancy and marketing, but I knew I wanted a position that gave me the chance to have an international career. The healthcare sector wasn’t the most logical choice, given my studies, but I never ruled it out. In fact, I considered studying medicine!
Then you went to work at a big pharma company, Sanofi, and did the d·HEALTH Barcelona fellowship. What did you get out of the program?
Without a doubt, the most enriching part of the program was the clinical immersion in the hospital: getting a first-hand look at how it works and how decisions are made constantly, working with colleagues from very different backgrounds. The program helped me grow personally and professionally, and gave me skills that I’ve been able to apply not only to my work in the healthcare sector but also to every other area of my life.
You came from the world of business and marketing… what attracted you to the healthcare sector?
I’m passionate about the healthcare sector because it has a purpose that other sectors don’t. It’s very gratifying to know that the work you put so many hours into each day has a direct impact on quality of life for healthcare professionals and patients. We tend to speak about ‘patients’ in the third person, but we’re all patients at some point in our lives, directly or indirectly. So, you know that all your efforts have very tangible rewards.
Now you’re working as a specialist in lean management. What is that?
It is a highly innovative philosophy and methodology to develop excellent organizations by improving their processes, meaning the work we do every day. How? By eliminating anything that we do that doesn’t add value or, even, is harmful to the process, and by focusing on people.
How does lean methodology apply to the healthcare sector?
We mainly work with hospitals, both public and private. This methodology is particularly relevant for healthcare organizations, as they work with many complex, interrelated processes that, if not perfectly coordinated, can generate loads of waste.
What processes need to be improved?
Some of the processes to be improved in hospitals include, for example, speeding up waiting lists for surgeries by optimizing time between procedures, shortening wait-time for urgent cases, shortening lines at the counters for external appointments and decreasing the amount of obsolete and expired materials by optimizing stocks and spaces.
Is everything about being faster?
No, it’s not only about time. Other outputs achieved include increasing safety for patients and professionals, as well as better adapting to the constantly changing environment and boosting productive capacity. Meaning, being more efficient without having to go faster or decrease the quality of the service provided.
How do you optimize these processes in hospitals?
I’ve participated in different services and processes, both care and support. All of them have a common denominator, which is a multidisciplinary team that makes decisions and a decrease in activities or practices they carry out that don’t add value. It is also possible to collaborate with a management team at a healthcare organization to develop a strategic model to manage processes geared towards promoting active participation of professionals on all levels.
Willing to follow Lalis’ steps? Join us!
Biocat has open the selection for students of its sixth Design Health Barcelona (d·HEALTH Barcelona) edition, a postgraduate program to develop innovators and entrepreneurs in the healthcare sector, with starting date in January, 2019. The 90% of the previous editions participants have found a job in the healthcare sector and 48% of them started their own business project.
Following the Stanford biodesign methodology, participants expeirence a full cycle of innovation. The fellows divide into multidisciplinary teams with graduates in science, design, engineering and business, and do a two-month clinical immersion in top hospitals in Barcelona to detect real unmet clinical needs on site that can be the basis for creating new products or services.
Throughout the program, participants experience a full innovation cycle, from identifying the business idea to designing and prototyping a viable solution and searching for funding. At the same time, they take on valuable knowledge in medicine, business development, design thinking and creative leadership skills from over 70 international professors from Stanford, Kaos Pilot and companies in Silicon Valley, among others.
More information about Design Health Barcelona (d·HEALTH Barcelona).