Estonian and Finnish healthcare sectors join forces for innovation

Estonian and Finnish healthcare sectors join forces for innovation

In a groundbreaking move towards advancing innovation in the healthcare sector, representatives from Estonia and Finland gathered at the Embassy of Finland in Tallinn to explore potential collaboration opportunities. This strategic partnership brought together entities from both the private and public sectors, including startups, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and government organizations from Estonia and Finland.  

The primary objective was to strengthen ties between Estonian and Finnish companies and organizations, inspiring new collaborations, facilitating the exchange of best practices, and expanding the scope for testing and piloting initiatives between the two countries. This initiative aims to pave the way for innovative cross-border partnerships. 

Mrs Signe Riisalo, the Minister of Social Protection of Estonia, emphasized that the collaboration between the Estonian and Finnish healthcare sectors has already begun, but there is still untapped potential. She stated, “This event marks a significant milestone in Estonian-Finnish collaboration. Our shared vision for innovative healthcare unites us in this journey. In the last few years, we have launched several joint projects, enabling better healthcare for Estonian and Finnish patients.” 

“In 2019, Finland and Estonia were the first to start cross-border e-prescription among European countries. The next step will be the cross-border exchange of patient summaries so that doctors in the respective countries can access crucial health information about patients. Estonia has already connected to the European Commission’s infrastructure for cross-border data exchange, and this year we are hoping to commence data exchange with Finland,” Riisalo added. “As we look forward to expanding the partnership between the two countries, let’s commit to turning possibilities into realities. Together we can pioneer a healthcare revolution, not just for Estonia and Finland but as a model for the world.” 

Mr Vesa Vasara, the Head of Mission at the Embassy of Finland in Tallinn, emphasized the importance of utilizing new technologies in healthcare. “Healthcare systems in Finland and Estonia are facing the same challenges – an aging population, a rise in chronic diseases, and the need to manage healthcare costs. In Finland, approximately one-third of healthcare personnel’s time is spent on administrative work. This cannot be the case in the future. New technologies will make it easier for doctors and nurses to concentrate on the work they have actually trained for. Therefore, we must find new innovative solutions and encourage more cross-border collaboration between the private and public sectors,” Vasara said. 

Ms Merilin Varsamaa, the Head of HealthTech at Tehnopol Science and Business Park, stated that these collaborations between key players in the healthcare field both in Estonia and Finland have a huge potential for long-term collaboration in strengthening healthcare ecosystem on an international scale. “Tehnopol is eagerly supporting different stakeholders, companies and organizations to foster co-projects and is providing a platform where these world-changing collaborations are possible,” said Varsamaa. 

Ms Paula Miettinen, the director of Business services at Business Helsinki, stated that innovations and technology are rapidly changing the healthcare sector. “It is more important now than ever to share knowledge, best practices, and encourage innovation. Closer cooperation between Finland and Estonia, both in the private and public sector, enables great possibilities to strengthen the innovation ecosystem in both countries,” she stressed. 

Ms Pilvi Hämäläinen, the director of Estonian Investment Agency in Finland stated: “The health sector is one of the world’s fastest-growing industries. And Estonia and Finland, as it turns out, is a perfect place to build a digital health startup. Collaboration is the key and together we can concur new international markets and make bigger impact.” 

Overview of companies who presented their solutions at the event:  

  • Dermtest (Estonia) is developing the visual-first medical software helping doctors and nurses to manage dermatological and other body surface conditions. 
  • MedicubeX Ltd (Finland) is developing healthcare automation and telehealth solutions. 
  • Gelatex (Estonia) is employing their patented halospinning technology. Their nanofibrous scaffolds replicate the natural cell growth environment advancing 3D cell culture and tissue engineering. 
  • VersoVision (Finland) is developing a fall-prevention solution and software which uses video analytics and AI to deliver fall-prevention for healthcare, care, safety and other fields. 

The Tehnopol HealthTech Community organized the kick-off event in partnership with the Finnish Embassy in Estonia, Business Helsinki, Helsinki Health Incubator, Tehnopol Startup Incubator, and the Estonian Investment Agency. This collaborative effort sets the stage for ongoing partnerships, knowledge exchange, and joint ventures in the healthcare sector. The collective vision is to create a sustainable model that not only addresses current healthcare challenges but also anticipates and adapts to future needs. The next collaborational event will be organized in Finland in autumn 2024. 

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