Mirja Kaarlela: Healthy Business from Finland

9/28/2015
The most exciting and groundbreaking future business opportunities are to be found in the area of health, and wellbeing and related services. Innovations and business solutions in health and wellbeing touch life's extremes in every sense possible.

 We are witnessing an exciting transformation from reactive to preventive health care. The many approaches and experiences of individuals are becoming the core of all solutions. Brilliantly simple and smart apps are converging with the highly sophisticated professional medical devices. Data at our disposal is massive and we have already seen some preliminary indications how to actually utilize and benefit from all of this.

Digitalization is putting nearly all of the health and wellness data at our fingertips. Several questions remain: What can we – as individuals and consumers – do with all this data? Can I trust this information? Is it significant in any meaningful way? It is fun, of course, to count the steps, calories and hours of deep sleep. I think, though, that the opportunities for a real game-changing transformation are already here. We will see some major advancements in the area of health care, wellbeing and wellness in the next couple of years. Mobile solutions and the internet of things in addition to digitalization and data security will play a major role in this transformation.

Finnish ecosystem with its world-class research, extensive education and high-coverage healthcare is at the forefront of this transformation and we are fast becoming the leading country in personalized health care. We have the highest number of digital health start-ups per capita in the world and health tech comprises almost half of the Finnish high-tech exports, for example.The Finnish private and public companies and organizations have also committed to a shared vision when it comes to the growth of innovation and research. There are three national strategies in place already: Health Sector Growth Strategy for Research and Innovation activities, Genome Strategy and Health IT strategy.

Finland has solid scientific knowledge, capabilities and intellectual capital on health care and wellbeing. At the same time, the business opportunities are essentially global. If the app helps me monitor my stress level or the new device helps me breathe better, the country of origin does not matter. To really make a difference and solve important global problems we need to share knowledge and information globally, collaborate across borders and disciplines and ensure that the investments made have value.

The Finnish national health sector growth strategy states that "Finland's goal is to be an internationally renowned forerunner in the health sector research and innovation, investment and new business activities while benefiting people's health, welfare and capacity to act." This strategic goal is shared with all major players in Finland. In order to make it happen we need to work together in new and radical ways worldwide. Will you join us?


Team Finland Health will take the show on the road to the United States. Come and chat with us in Boston (Sept 30-Oct 1) and in California (Oct 5-7). We are very much looking forward to making healthy business together.

Mirja Kaarlela
Director, Large companies and public organisations, Tekes

Pia Mörk
comments powered by Disqus