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New business opportunities for SMEs from health data

Major EU funding boosts digitalisation of Finnish SMEs. HealthHub Finland brings together top experts from across the country to help companies to lower the threshold for creating new health data-driven innovations.  

Coordinated by Turku Science Park Ltd, HealthHub Finland’s idea is simple. It is a consortium that helps SMEs to digitalise and develop new health data-driven businesses.  

“At the same time, we are accelerating the digitalisation of European healthcare and making it more efficient,” says Tero Piispanen, Senior Executive of HealthTurku business unit at Turku Science Park Ltd.  

Health data and the expertise based on its use is Finland’s absolute competitive advantage. Image: Health Campus Turku

Finnish expertise in the use of health data is well known in Europe. Earlier this summer, the European Commission selected HealthHub Finland as a European Digital Innovation Hub (EDIH), as part of the EU’s new Digital Europe programme.  

HealthHub Finland will receive €1 million in annual funding from the EU for an initial period of three years. Provided that it meets its targets, the hub will have the possibility to receive an additional four years of funding.  

According to Piispanen, the funding decision is significant. It will enable Finland to bring together the different types of expertise that SMEs need to develop their health data-based solutions.  

In addition to Turku Science Park Ltd., HealthHub Finland includes the Hospital District of Southwest Finland, Finnish Biobanks – FINBB, Business Tampere, Kuopio Health, Kajaani University of Applied Sciences, the University of Oulu and Business Oulu.  

One-stop shop for services in Europe 

Health data and the expertise based on its use is Finland’s absolute competitive advantage, says Janne Lahtiranta, Network Manager of HealthTurku at Turku Science Park Oy. According to Lahtiranta, Finland has a long history of using both health and wellbeing data in innovation. 

HealthHub Finland’s partners have strong expertise in health and well-being data related test platform activities. The role of Finnish test platforms as part of the product development of companies operating in different countries will become even more important as the number and range of test platform services increases during the life of the hub.  

“HealthHub Finland provides services to SMEs to support their business with the famous ‘one-stop-shop’ principle. We provide companies with the resources and know-how to develop new types of health data-driven solutions. In this way, we improve their competitiveness in international markets,” sums up Lahtiranta.  

The hub can help companies find IT or regulatory experts, for example, or investors. In the coming years, European clusters will be expected to cooperate with each other. This will open up international cooperation opportunities for Finnish companies.  

Piispanen believes that the networked cooperation within the cluster will also boost innovation in the Turku region, which already has the largest pharmaceutical and diagnostics cluster in Finland. Through VSSHP’s participation, the advanced data processing and analysis services of Auria Clinical Informatics and PET centre can now be offered to a wider group of companies.  He hopes that more new companies will emerge in the region and that existing companies will realise the business potential of developing health data-based solutions.  

The aim is for the HealthHub Finland innovation cluster to become operational before the end of this year.  

For more information and interview requests: Tero Piispanen