The ageing of the world’s population is a sign of the successful efforts towards the prevention of diseases. At the same time, it is creating a huge global challenge for us to solve.
It is estimated that about 15.5 million people die from just cardio-vascular diseases every year. Globally, over 400 million people have diabetes and this figure is expected to increase to more than 600 million during the coming decades. In Finland alone, over 500,000 people have diabetes, which is almost a tenth of the population.
MEMORY DISORDERS ARE BECOMING MORE PREVALENT
The increasing prevalence of memory disorders has also generated a major challenge for national economies. Finland is one of the most rapidly ageing nations in the world, with about 300,000 people with memory disorders. Annually about 14,500 people become ill with memory disorders, and the lifetime cost of one patient is estimated to increase above EUR 200,000. The annual cost of dementia care in Finland is estimated to be about EUR 24,000 per patient.
Finland offers an excellent platform for developing preventive health care solutions. The world’s most advanced biobank law, Finland’s genetic homogeneity and public confidence in the authorities provide exceptionally good preconditions for conducting top-level research.
HELP FROM BIG DATA AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
Finnish companies have developed innovative solutions for many of the above-mentioned diseases. For example, the revolutionary blood analysis method developed by Nightingale Health Oy makes it possible to identify over 200 biomarkers which help to detect many serious potential diseases long before they break out.
With the help of Big Data analysis, it is possible to detect the early symptoms of memory disorders. These analyses typically combine clinical data collected from patients with the results of the patient’s own measurements. In particular, the use of artificial intelligence is becoming more common in highly complex diagnostics. Advanced companies using this technology include, for example, Combinostics Oy from Tampere.
Commit Oy, which develops preventive diagnostics for cancer diseases, has gained a strong foothold in the Middle East among other places, and iCare Oy and Optomed Oy, which focus on eye diseases, are growing rapidly in the Far East.
Oscare Oy and Bone Index Oy are among the companies offering advanced preventive screening solutions for osteoporosis, which becoming increasingly common.
Previously, Finnish companies tended to hone their solutions for too long in the domestic market, whereas today internationalization is vital for survival. It is great to observe that Finnish know-how is now in better shape than before.
Since the annual cost of caring for memory disorders amounts to tens of thousands of euros per patient, it is important to find new ways to develop home care so that the transition to institutional care can be delayed without sacrificing the patients’ safety and mental stimulation.
Excellent solutions have been developed for this in Finland, with advanced IoT and mobile technology solutions that provide tools for the monitoring and stimulation of senior citizens. Such solutions have been developed, among others, by Vivago Oy, VideoVisit, SENIORSome and Medixine Oy. Extending the solutions to occupational health processes and methods yields significant benefits and annual cost savings. These companies are represented by Aino Health Oy, among others.
We are inevitably moving from treating diseases to caring for health. Therefore, prevention-focused services are a real megatrend. Compared to other Western countries, Finnish companies have a head start in this race due to Finland’s strong digitalization and demographics.
Finpro’s passion is to help companies to internationalize through the Finland Health program. This is why we offer many services to companies, such as customer meetings, training and trips to countries with good business potential.