The Nordic toddler is about to run

Nordic healthtech companies are moving fast and are expanding into new markets, not the least the American. Because as far as healthtech goes, the Nordics are still ahead of the US.

For the third year in a row, HealthTech Nordic recently attended Health 2.0, a global conference originating from Silicon Valley, attracting early adopters in healthcare and tech among others. During the conference we discovered that our Nordic toddler, is the only baby about to run – into the arms of payers and providers in a broken US system.

The Nordics stand out! Thanks to the combination of:

  • a large community of healthtech startups
  • government ambitions and power in terms of resources and volumes
  • and healthcare providers about to board new open IT architecture (Region Skåne in Sweden being among the first in a long row) enabling communication across providers and geography.

Nordic healthtech pioneers

The ambition was gigantic and perceived, by many, as naive: Aiming for international leadership in an entirely new line of business, where internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) meets life science and healthcare. And to drastically change quality and distribution of healthcare – and thereby people’s health – which early visionaries called the democratization of health.

When we embarked on the HealthTech Nordic project 18 months ago, we were sure that the Nordics had all the pieces to do it. Healthtech is still in its infancy, but people’s awareness of the opportunities it provides are growing steadily. And early adopters love the new empowering solutions.

The first step, improving access to primary care, have already been taken by Nordic startups Docly (Min Doktor), Kry and several others. In other parts of the globe, including the US however, this has predominantly been solved in a more analogue way through what is commonly referred to as tele medicine. But tele medicine solutions are in general much less efficient than the asynchronous chat functions used by for instance Docly, where a doctor is provided with tools to engage with several patients at the time.

The different solutions provide a perfect example of the fundamental difference between the Nordic and the US approach to healthtech.

Coala Life and Cross Technology Solution are two examples of companies providing solutions that empower patients and healthcare professionals alike.

Technology empowering the individual

Right now the next level of tools are gaining traction in the Nordics, empowering patients and healthcare professionals alike. For instance, Coala Life’s heart monitor (pictured) enables patients with chronic diseases to track their heart condition (through ECG/EKG and heart murmur) in one minute, whenever and wherever they are. The heart monitor also automatically alerts medical specialists when needed, using decision making tools like Cross Technology Solution’s LifePod (pictured) to prioritize and help patients with the greatest needs. The solutions are powered by unique algorithms and technology, perhaps best recognized from already widely used music and banking services across the globe.

A growing business

Healthtech is growing, from embryotic visions to a toddler taking its first steps onto the world stage. The growth is welcomed by many. Healthtech, when empowering patients, physicians, nurses, elderly care workers and others, is shifting healthcare into a new paradigm which leads to improved quality of life while reducing the costs and workload on the healthcare system overall. This is all coming together in the Nordics. Startups and established companies are already providing the solutions, and the healthcare system is about to pick them up making them widely available to patients and healthcare professionals.

Our toddler is about to run. It will take some time yet, but we’re clearly on the right path and clearly still in the lead. That’s our biggest take away from attending this year’s Health 2.0 in Silicon Valley.

 

Marianne Larsson
Project Manager for HealthTech Nordic and Director of New Industries and Innovation at Innovation Skåne