Accelerating healthcare tech in a post-pandemic world: Finland leads the way with ground-breaking innovations
From platforms that provide digital processes to shorten patient backlogs and manage staff time more effectively, personal monitors that help people take control of their own health, and a COVID-19 vaccine administered directly into the nose, that can be developed to use against future pandemics, Finnish innovations are leading the way in ground-breaking global health technology and solutions.
Press release 17.3.2022
COVID-19 and the latest wave of Omicron have resulted in global demand for diagnostic innovations and applications. As we emerge from the pandemic, people are increasingly taking control of their health, and patient and home monitoring devices developed in Finland are helping to empower a healthier life for many.
Finland’s vibrant start-up community is proud to be making great strides in improving healthcare – its tech-savvy expertise, stellar engineering skills, and irrepressible entrepreneurial spirit has made it a giant in the field of medical diagnostics.
Kari Klossner, Head of Smart Life Finland Program, says: “Countries across the world are now moving away from isolation and lockdowns to a way of ‘living with COVID-19’, and dealing with the new challenges it brings. One of the key issues to overcome will be tackling long hospital waiting lists that many countries struggle with. With a backlog of operations, tech is set to be at the forefront to manage waiting times and serve patients faster. For example, automating processes can help reduce administrative burdens and improve the patient experience by reducing the number of pre-operative phone calls. This decreases the time staff spend on preventable conditions, so they are free to dedicate their time to important patient care. Innovations in diagnostic technology will also be highly impactful when conditions can be identified faster and could lead to patients avoiding more invasive treatments later down the line. The world is set to truly ‘learn to live with COVID’ and innovative solutions will greatly help not only with this virus – and other viruses to come – without putting people at risk.”
As the health tech sector grows, Finland is keen to attract the best talents and brightest minds to join its close-knit global community that has led to the country becoming a technological super-power, producing one of the fastest-growing start-up scenes in the world.
New initiatives from Finland-backed health tech start-ups include Deep Sensing Algorithms Ltd (DSA). DSA BreathPass™ is the world’s first ultra-rapid COVID-19 detection technology that analyses exhaled breath. The hand-held breathalyser device – for professional use only – can be used for COVID screening in schools, dental clinics, large workplaces, and for medical office staff, providing immediate results.
Key successes include:
- Finnish company Rokote Laboratories Finland Oy is developing FINCoVac, a COVID-19 vaccine administered into the nose because the coronavirus naturally causes infection via the airways. A vaccine administered onto the nasal mucosa is expected to give a wider immune response than a vaccine administered into the muscle. Using the same method, it may be possible to develop vaccines protecting against other viruses and pandemics in the future.
- Buddy Healthcare is a Finnish Care Coordination and Care Pathway Management Platform on a mission to implement the best possible care pathways and form an effortless communication link between home and hospital. The platform shortens elective care backlogs and waiting lists by offering electronic pre-operative assessment, or if desired, even the entire digital care pathway from referral or diagnosis to recovery.
- Medixine also offers a communication, monitoring, and collaboration platform for healthcare workers. It seeks to lighten the load for overworked doctors, nurses, and associated support professionals with video appointments, a secure chat function, secure messaging, health questionnaires, remote health monitoring, and automated screening features.
- Business Finland (BF) is funding an ecosystem called The E3, one of the most significant joint projects between companies and research institutes. The project aims to improve economic and societal resilience to face future pandemics.
- The Oura Ring, also from Finland, is one example of ground-breaking technology developed to meet the needs of a burgeoning global home health monitoring industry. The ring contains three types of the high-tech sensor on the inside of the band: multiple colors of photoplethysmography sensors (PPG) for heart rate and respiration, a negative temperature coefficient sensor for body temperature and a 3D accelerometer for movement – collecting deep data while users sleep and go about their day.
- Finnish self-monitoring and remote solutions also play a major role in improving health. Firstbeat Technologies is the leading provider of physiological analytics and digital services for well-being and sports. The company, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year – analyses heart-rate variability to give millions of users, including elite sports teams and wellness professionals, personalized insights on stress, recovery, sleep and exercise.
- Firstbeat’s ECG-based measurement technology provides laboratory-accurate physiological data analytics.
- Firstbeat’s health-mentor technology, Firstbeat LifeTM, is a subscription-based service available globally for health care and wellness service providers as well as companies to support corporate wellness management.
- Firstbeat Sports is the leading sports performance management solution, providing data on training load, intensity, performance readiness, stress, and recovery. It is used by over 1,000 top teams, including NFL, NBA, NHL, Champions League and Bundesliga.
“As a small country, Finland is used to relying on each other and doing things together, sharing a joint goal and the desire to share our knowledge and learnings for the common good,” adds Kari Klossner. “State-of-the-art infrastructure, supporting legislation, world-class research organisations and forward-thinking governmental entities are creating an environment where Finnish healthcare innovations are flourishing. An excellent example of this is our ecosystem thinking, a structure by which research organizations, healthcare providers and commercial companies – ranging from start-ups to multinational corporations – can all work under one roof to share a common agenda and goal."
“Only through collaboration and global partnerships can we develop the technologies and innovations that will help the future of patient care. Finland is committed to bringing talented people, innovations, technology, and businesses together to create health innovations and solutions that will help us achieve this purpose.”
Business Finland is the Finnish government organization for innovation funding and trade, travel and investment promotion. Business Finland’s over 700 experts work in over 40 offices globally and in 16 regional offices around Finland. Business Finland is part of the Team Finland network. www.businessfinland.fi
Head of Smart Life Finland program
kari.klossner (at) businessfinland.fi
PR & Media Manager
mia.eloranta (at) businessfinland.fi