Finnish health technology has long and strong traditions on the export markets. Growth is now budding in the digitalisation of healthcare, offering promising international development paths for small and agile growth companies.
An example is software company NetMedi Oy. One of the fruits of Aalto University's product development course, NetMedi was established in 2012. The company's Kaiku system for cancer monitoring is raising interest at home and abroad.
A total of 15 cancer clinics in different countries are currently using this smartphone and tablet-based patient monitoring system. Finnish examples include the Docrates Cancer Center, the first European institution in the sector to adopt the solution, as well as HUS - The Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa and Tampere University Hospital (Tays). Another user is the highly rated Hirslanden clinic chain in Switzerland.
Monitoring improves quality
According to Lauri Sippola, the CEO of Netmedi, interest is growing in central Europe in particular; the company has targeted these markets from the moment it was founded.
He states that a gap in the market exists for patient-oriented solutions based on a deep understanding of specialist sectors, to which large, inflexible healthcare systems cannot easily adapt.
For example, the Kaiku system can be used to monitor the wellbeing of cancer patients at home. Patients can report on their own condition in a structured manner and communicate on side effects without visiting a doctor.
"Care staff become better informed and can offer the best care. The system can also automatically detect possible problems, enabling a faster reaction to them. The result is savings in time, trouble and costs for all of the parties involved. This also means improved quality of care," sums up Sippola.
Market momentum has been boosted by the rapid development of mobile devices. In addition, using devices is much easier and smoother for patients than setting up a web camera on a home computer.
Finland a forerunner
NetMedi currently employs around a dozen health technology experts. It opened an office in Bremen at the beginning of the year.
This fast-growing startup has also received product develop funding from Tekes´ Innovations in Social and Healthcare Services programme. It recently joined the NIY (Finnish acronym for 'Young Innovative Companies') programme.
"Tekes' participation and support have been important to us from the very beginning. We are seeking a boost to our internationalisation from the NIY programme," says Sippola.
The company has also received the backing of venture capitalists and business angels such as Olli Riikkala and Sami Erviö, who have a strong background in health technology.
"Finland has a very large amount of research and engineering expertise in healthcare. Now we just need to learn how to combine expertise in the game and software sector with the perspective of the end user, i.e. the patient. There are major opportunities out there and we are now ahead of other countries," Sippola adds.
Lauri Sippola, CEO, NetMedi Oy
Tel. + 358 40 744 7481
lauri.sippola (at) netmedi.fi
Text: Recommended Finland