Wall-Street.ro Report: Businesses of the Future - Imaging investigations on CDs must remain history. How Medicai innovates Romanian medicine and beyond

This article was originally published in Wall-Street.ro, under the "Romania 2030 -Businesses of the Future" special feature. We thank Raluca Juncu for the interview, and for allowing us to translate the article for our international audience.


"In Romania, as in many other countries, the CD already has a "tradition" in specialized clinics where patients come to undertake a medical scan. Entrepreneur Mircea Popa wanted a different way of dealing with the medical system, so he set up an online medical imaging platform that allows multidisciplinary collaboration between doctors and their patients. He says he wants the CD to remain history and no longer be passed around from one practice to another.

Medicai is a Romanian medtech start-up that operates in the area of imaging. The platform created by the company helps data get from A to B, through a new kind of infrastructure, the cloud, without the need for the classic CD that the doctor gives us after we do a specific investigation, such as an MRI or CT scan. Medicai gives any user the ability to create a personal archive of medical imaging scans to track the progress of the conditions they are investigating.

"There is still the possibility to go to an imaging center, with very complex, advanced machines, and leave with a CD. We want to change that. And it's not just about making a transfer environment:  I have this CD and I want to transfer it to you, but it's also about having a vision of the whole environment," Mircea Popa, founder and CEO of Medicai, told wall-street.ro.

Medicai works in Romania with several large public hospitals, both in Bucharest and outside the capital, as well as with several private health networks. It also has clients in the UK and the US (15% of its clients are from the US market), where it focuses most of its activity, given the maturity of the overseas market.

"The US accounts for practically half of the global healthcare market. There are some big markets, Germany, Japan, that are growing. At the same time, it's very hard to make a good mark there, because there are different cultures, different languages."

Mircea Popa, founder and CEO of Medicai

Mircea Popa - CEO Medicai


In 2022, the United States was the leader in health spending, contributing the equivalent of 16% of GDP, followed by Germany and France, which allocate 12.7% and 12.1% of GDP respectively to these types of costs, data from an OECD report from 2023 show. Romania has directed about 6.5% of GDP to health in 2021, the worst performer among EU countries when it comes to healthcare spending, according to data also compiled by the OECD.

At the EU level, government spending on health rose to 8% of GDP in 2020, compared to 7% of GDP in 2019. Health remained the second largest area of government spending in the EU after social protection.

"Romania does not seem to me to be a market for innovation. We are simply not ready. We have no infrastructure, no knowledge, no business models. And you can't build a product by looking at the Romanian market, so you look at other markets. And our goal was to test the product here in Romania (...) Many things are missing here, including technology, and infrastructure. I mean it's like making a Formula One car, but you don't have the roads. And you say, look how cool, it goes fast, but we have nowhere to put it on the road because we have no roads", explained Mircea Popa.

In the future, "every patient will represent a rare case or condition."

Personalized medicine will become a common approach in the future in the diagnosis and treatment of many diseases, at which point every case can be treated as "a rare disease", says the founder of Medicai.

"It will exponentially increase the complexity of the medical act itself. We're going to have personalized medicine because more and more information is emerging. Every case or every patient will be a rare disease. If you look now at what's happening with rare diseases, you never have an expert or you need a multidisciplinary team, so a lot of resources. But now, with the advancement of science, every patient will be a unique case (...) Science has reached the point where it looks at genes and generates drugs that go right to the patient's DNA," says Mircea Popa, who gives the example of diabetes, a disease that has been more precisely defined thanks to the growing influence of innovations in medicine.

The entrepreneur believes that artificial intelligence will play a crucial role in healthcare systems around the world, as it will help adopt new solutions and create other workflows that will ultimately help patients as much as possible with their health issues. Healthcare organizations around the world are planning to invest more and more in generative artificial intelligence projects. One-fifth of healthcare industry leaders report a more than 300% increase in budgets allocated to generative AI projects, survey data from John Snow Labs shows.

"Many solutions are coming up now, from not having the system in the hospital, from home monitoring, from triage and calling the patient to certain centers so you don't have them come to a big hospital. You're going to want to do that efficient routing of patients and resources. You don't want to use an expert in one place, you want to use them in as many places as possible and as efficiently as possible. You're not going to want to have these expensive resources sitting around, writing documents, doing paperwork, you're going to want to automate these things. A lot of new things are going to happen," said Mircea Popa.

Medicai is a start-up that was born in 2019 and currently has a team of 15 people. The entrepreneur hopes to attract new funding shortly but believes that such a process is difficult now, given the still uncertain global economic situation. For now, Medicai's focus will be on making further improvements to the product, with a focus on increasing speed, and efficiency and making the technology behind the platform as flexible and scalable as possible." 

Mircea Popa, Medicai, interviewed by Raluca Juncu for wall-street.ro. 


About the author - Andra Bria

Andra Bria is a marketing manager at Medicai. She is interested in health equity, patient experience and value-driven care pathways. She believes in interoperability and collaboration for a more connected healthcare industry.

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