Euronews covers the response of one Romanian cluster to the COVID-19 pandemic
Euronews’s ‘Business Planet’ has published a story which explores how one tech company in Iasi, Romania, got its pharmacy app off the ground through being part of a cluster.
Almost everyone will be familiar with the routine of picking up a prescription. Even in the best of times, many people go to their local chemist, only to find that the medicine they need isn’t in stock and needs to be ordered. Now, there is a smart solution; Romanian software company RomSoft has created a digital app which connects patients to pharmacies that already have the medication they require.
“The patient fills in a medicine request and then pharmacists, who are registered on the platform, can see it in the system and can answer to it with one click. A message is then sent to the patient, through SMS or e-mail, with information [on] when the medicine is available,” explains RomSoft's Iulia Weingold.
RomSoft is a member of the IMAGO-MOL cluster, the only medical imaging cluster in both Romania and the EU. The cluster strives to link public bodies, like hospitals, to private enterprises, especially firms in the IT and software development sector.
Ms. Weingold insists that the cluster's support was crucial:
“The cluster helped us a lot to promote the application. With their help, we managed [to get] more pharmacists on board, and we facilitated important media contacts so that we could reach more people in a short time. The next step is to simplify the process even more and empower the patients to search for the medicine they need directly in the application, and then [to] scale-up to more pharmacies.”
Engines for entrepreneurial talent
There are currently approximately 3000 specialised clusters (like IMAGO-MOL) in Europe nurturing innovation among SMEs. It is estimated that these business eco-systems account for 54 million EU jobs.
Europe’s cluster community has been active in efforts to alleviate supply chain disruption caused by the pandemic. A COVID-19 response portal has also been set up to help foster collaboration further.
IMAGO-MOL's cluster manager Carmen Mihai told Business Planet about some of the work that is being done:
“We support our cluster members by promoting their products, such as the app connecting patients with pharmacies. We also help our hospital members to deal with the shortage of protective medical equipment, and (as all the clusters around Europe are) to build platforms to help their members face the challenges posed by the COVID-19 situation.”
Asked about the benefits of clusters and why companies inside them tend to be more innovative, Mihai says: "Companies inside clusters are generally more innovative due to the fact that clusters connect two different worlds; on the one side is the researchers and scientists, and the businesses, in general, are on the other side. So, there is a sharing of knowledge, and the spillover effects of this knowledge sharing, in fact, create innovation.”
Find the full interview from Carmen Mihai here.
Find out more about RomSoft’s app here.