Israel and Finland collaborate on digital health

The Israel Innovation Authority and Israel-Europe R&D Directorate (ISERD) launched a key collaboration between Israel and Finland in the arena of digital health with an event at the Finnish Embassy in Israel. The event was marked by a Call for Proposals for joint projects between Israeli and Finnish companies in the field.

Israel and Finland are both leading innovation economies with technology and entrepreneurship at their core. Finland ranks among the strongest markets in healthcare technology in the world, and its digital health industry is its largest high-tech export – increasing more than five-fold over the last two decades. Finland is one of the first countries in the world to set up a national digital patient data repository covering both the public and private healthcare sectors. 100% of the national population is registered in electronic health records, and thus the Finnish health data is unique in terms of its scope.

Finland’s strong digital health sector can be partially attributed to its advanced medical research  and world-renowned institutions including Helsinki University Hospital, which is one of the largest health care organizations in the West, and its strong ICT sector including Nokia’s headquartered  located in the greater area of Helsinki.

Israel is home to over 350 R&D centers of multinational corporations and Fortune 500 companies, including Google, IBM, Intel, Facebook, and Nokia. According to the World Economic Forum’s 2018 Global Competitiveness Report, Israel is the world leader in R&D spending as a percentage of GDP and is home to hundreds of startups and companies driving innovations in personalized medicine, health analytics, telemedicine, wearables and sensors, medical devices, and more.

A number of leading Israeli and Finnish executives and officials will participate in the kick-off event. these attendees include: Ambassador-designate of Finland to Israel Kirsikka Lehto-Asikainen; Visa Honkanen, Chief Digital Officer, Helsinki University Hospital; Marja-Liisa Niinikoski, CEO, Helsinki Business Hub (HBH); and Patrick Dalez, Head of Business Development for Connected Devices & Digital Services, Amer Sports.

Ambassador-designate of Finland to Israel Kirsikka Lehto-Asikainen welcomed the pilot program and the various activities saying, “It is an important and exciting leap forward for the cooperation between Finland and Israel as leading innovative countries. We are truly happy to be part of that partnership and will continue promoting similar initiatives in the future – we can certainly see a great potential for that.”

As part of the Israel–Finland Pilot Program, a Call for Proposals will be issued, led by the Israel Innovation Authority and the Helsinki Business Hub. This initiative will provide funding and matching services for Greater Helsinki-based and Israeli companies seeking to partner in order to co-develop, test, improve, or pilot impactful technologies, products, services and/or devices with strong market potential in the fields of digital health, smart mobility, and information and communication technologies (ICT).

“We are thrilled to provide this bridge between the pioneering innovation ecosystems of Israel and Finland, in a field that impacts us all: digital health,” said Aharon, CEO of the Israel Innovation Authority. “Collaboration with Israeli companies will help Finnish start-ups access groundbreaking technologies that support the country’s progressive health policies, protect Finnish citizens’ well-being, and maintain Finland’s status as a global leader in healthcare technology. This is also an extraordinary opportunity for Israeli companies to connect with Finnish leaders in the digital health ecosystem, gain exposure to new cutting-edge technologies, receive support for meaningful innovations, and tap into the Finnish market.”

“Greater Helsinki is a driving force in Finland’s innovation sector, home to 750 health and life sciences companies, where over 80% of tech deals occur in our country,” said Marja-Liisa Niinikoski, CEO of Helsinki Business Hub (HBH). “Given Israel’s technological prowess, highly skilled workforce, and record on innovation in digital health, we see endless opportunities for fruitful collaboration. We are excited to embark on this cooperative venture between two of the world’s most innovative economies – for the benefit of all humankind.”