Type of innovation: Business model
Scope: Hospital Pharmacy
Innovation leader: Shared leadership
Grifols has a record of developing innovative solutions for hospital pharmacy and sets itself apart from other suppliers by its capacity to provide solutions for every stage of the hospital pharmacy logistics process. The company has a particularly strong record of pioneering IT systems for the sector, contributing to the safety of both patients and health professionals, and was the first pharmaceutical company whose business model included a dedicated IT firm.
A gap in the market
Grifols began to diversify into information technology in the early 1980s, initially supplying Spanish hospitals with IBM Commodore computers, and subsequently manufacturing its own model: the Eina. A dedicated division – Gri-Cel Informática – was created to market this hardware to the hospital sector.
There was also a gap in the hospital software market, and Grifols decided to pursue a strategy of offering customers both computers and programs to incentivize the purchase of the company's fluid therapy products. From 1981 to 1995, the fledgling IT area was seen as a marketing tool, with both the hardware and the software for managing hospital pharmacy inventory being supplied free of charge to complement fluid therapy sales.
The close working relationships that were established between computer engineers and pharmacists were vital when it came to designing and developing software that met the needs of blood banks and hospital pharmacies.
The creation of Logister
In 1987, the activities of the computing division were put on a more structured footing with the creation of a dedicated company within the Grifols holding group. The new company was called Logister and focused exclusively on hospital pharmacy software.
Development and systems
Logister consisted of two departments: development and systems. The former was responsible for designing, documenting and developing programs; the latter provided computing services to other Grifols group companies, and delivered technical support to external customers, who were primarily hospital blood banks and pharmacies.
“The close working relationships that were established between computer engineers and pharmacists were vital when it came to designing and developing software that met the needs of blood banks and hospital pharmacies.”
An expanding portfolio
Logister gradually expanded its software portfolio, starting with Synfhos® and Silicon®, two programs used to manage the purchase, distribution and dispensation of medicines for hospital pharmacies. This was followed by the development of Infowin® (an information system for patient medicines), GECos (clinical trial management software), and Blue® (a blood bank management solution).
The knowledge and experience gleaned from developing projects for external clients was also put to use within Grifols itself. Logister developed PediGri®, a Windows-based program which makes all the technical information about each individual batch of Grifols plasma-derived products available to prescribing physicians.
A strategic acquisition
In 2018, Grifols acquired MedKeeper to consolidate the Hospital division's Pharmatech line, and grow the company's presence in the US market for solutions to automate hospital pharmacies. This US tech firm develops and markets web-based apps which are used in the pharmacies of hundreds of hospitals and medical centers to increase productivity, improve safety, and ensure compliance with regulations governing the preparation of sterile medicines in a hospital pharmacy environment.
- Grupo Grifols. (1994). Grupo Grifols: desde / since 1940. [Sales Brochure]. Barcelona: Grupo Grifols, S.A.
- Grupo Grifols. (1999). Logister: Ingeniería de software hospitalario. Revista Cosmos: periódico para los colaboradores del Grupo Grifols, 13(3), 12.
- Avellà, R., & Miquel, B. (Eds.). (2015). Cuando un sueño se cumple. Crónica ilustrada de 75 años de Grifols. Barcelona: Grupo Grifols, S.A.
- Grifols, S.A. (2020, November 9). Grifols consolidates its Hospital Division as a reference in innovative solutions with the acquisition of the 49% stake in MedKeeper. [Press release]. Link