Launching a new ecosystem of digital health innovations

The demand for digital and artificial intelligence-based health solutions is growing globally. CleverHealth Network, a new ecosystem coordinated by HUS, brings together the health technology competence of Finnish enterprises, leading experts in healthcare and high-quality health data collected by HUS.

The CleverHealth Network coordinated by the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS) is an ecosystem funded by the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation Tekes. The ecosystem brings together companies and leading healthcare experts to develop better healthcare solutions for Finland and successful health technology products for companies to export through the use of health data. Another objective of the project is to attract foreign investment to Finland.

– “As a university hospital, HUS is responsible for continuous research and development efforts to improve healthcare in Finland. We are now in the process of creating a competitive environment based on the utilisation of health data, allowing us to collaborate with companies to develop innovations and research that is especially based on the refinement of data. This means that the treatment we offer people in Finland will remain some of the best in the world, and, in the meantime, we will be able to create successful products for Finnish export,” explains Markku Mäkijärvi, Chief Medical Officer at HUS.

The innovation functions will take place in the development projects to be established within the ecosystem, combining interdisciplinary talent with agile joint development models. An essential part of the ecosystem is the HUS data lake, an analysis and storage location for large masses of data built by HUS with the support of the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra.

– “The HUS data lake offers a unique modern environment that allows data to be used for purposes such as teaching artificial intelligence in a flexible manner, while also ensuring personal privacy,” says Mikko Rotonen, ICT Development Director at HUS.

The CleverHealth Network already involves 14 companies, five of which are small or medium enterprises and nine are international corporations, including BCB Medical, BC Platforms, CGI, Elisa, Fujitsu, GE, IBM, Innofactor, Microsoft, Nokia, Noona, Planmeca, Reaktor and Tieto.

– “BC Platforms aims to be the world's leading genomic data analytics company. Our job is to add insight to the ecosystem concerning the best use of complex genomic data in both patient work and research. For example, in the field of rare diseases, combining our strengths may mean significant breakthroughs for the entire health system,” says Tero Silvola, CEO of BC Platforms.

– “The new ecosystem offers a great pathway for us to introduce innovations created by our Japanese healthcare unit and Fujitsu Laboratories to Finland in a customer-oriented manner. One way to accomplish proactive, personal treatment is the use of wearable technology that makes the patient’s daily life at home safer and enables treatment processes that are significantly more cost-efficient. In addition, Fujitsu can offer a global channel for distributing the ecosystem’s solutions on all continents,” states Mikko Lampinen, Head of Public Sector and Healthcare sales at Fujitsu.

First projects to take their first steps

The first projects should be launched already during this autumn. The projects are based on HUS’s special areas, which are top class on the global scale in both quantity and quality.

– Now is the time to act as, for the moment, Finland still has what it takes to become a centre of healthcare innovations: an excellent healthcare system ranked as best in the world by leading medical journal Lancet, solid competence in healthcare technology, high-quality health data and an environment for utilising it safely. The data will not be sold. Instead, we want to allow researchers and companies to join us in processing the data into new, better healthcare solutions in an environment that protects personal privacy and data security. This is not just to benefit healthcare but also economic life in Finland,” says Visa Honkanen, Director of Strategic Development at HUS.