Digital health and well-being technology key to global success

Finland is a leading country in digital expertise and a pioneer in digital social welfare and healthcare services. However, international success requires stronger domestic cooperation and activity at the EU level.

Health and well-being technology covers areas such as the utilisation of health information, medical imaging and consumer well-being technology solutions.

– Finland is a major exporter of health technology. Imaging equipment is already being exported globally. Artificial intelligence solutions in particular are part of the modern world. The field is developing, for example, ways for citizens to communicate with healthcare professionals, says Professor of Healthcare Information Systems Jarmo Reponen from the University of Oulu.

In order to strengthen the competitiveness of digital health and well-being technologies, an open and extensive national cooperation network needs to be built. The network is being prepared as part of the digital health and well-being technology expertise network project. Representatives of research, business and the healthcare system from different cities are important for the network.

– The project utilises so-called tripartite cooperation. Operators from different regions with connections to other operators in the area are represented. In the future, close cooperation with the authorities will also be needed. This type of cooperation is important for both the development of the healthcare industry and the promotion of commercial activities, says Project Manager Veera Virta from the University of Oulu.

Influence work in the field necessary in the EU

Building a competence network is one of InnoCities’ lead projects, the purpose of which is to accelerate national innovation activities and internationalisation. The University of Oulu is coordinating a group project led by six implementers, in which a road map for network activities is being drawn up.

According to Reponen, the industry needs a stronger control structure and a change in mindset. Finns should strive for influential positions in the EU.

– We should be involved in the preparation of data protection legislation and legislation enabling the use of health information, which are binding regulations on member states. Products that conform to international standards create new growth and internationalisation opportunities for companies.

In addition to influence work, the aim of the project is to accelerate the sharing of good practices and experiences and promote international funding for joint projects.

– In this project, the activities of the network are being prepared and planned. This includes defining the research lead areas of higher education institutions and the needs of companies and wellbeing services counties. The aim is to ensure that different actors are able to take internationality into account in their network operations, Reponen says.

The six implementers of the group project are the University of Oulu, Oulu University of Applied Sciences, Turku University of Applied Sciences, Tampere University Foundation, Kuopio Health, and Helsinki Partners Oy.

Establishment of digital health network and network operator (the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health’s report, 17 May 2023 in Finnish)

Digital health and well-being technology lead project
Duration: 1 September 2023–31 December 2024
Total cost: EUR 467,357
Amount of ERDF and government funding: EUR 346,737

Contact information

Project Manager Veera Virta
+358 50 340 9870

Responsible Director Jarmo Reponen
+358 40 541 2718

In 2022, InnoCities received EUR 2 million from the European Regional Development Fund for cross-regional lead themes. InnoCities carry out sustainable urban development in Finland in accordance with the EU’s policies.

Digital health is one of the six lead themes of InnoCities. Thematic cooperation brings together the resources of different cities and promotes the sharing of good practices as well as international cooperation and investments. InnoCities support innovation and engage in the practical application of research and pilots. InnoCities exist in order to enable people, businesses and other organisations to develop, come together and brainstorm.