The Growth Continues
We did it again! Finland’s trade in health technology broke new records again in 2015, both in terms of export volume and the positive balance of trade. The 6.6% growth in exports recorded was largely due to strong, 16% growth in exports of in vitro diagnostics and 4% growth in exports of electromedical equipment. Health technology has made the largest share of Finland’s high-tech exports for several years now. For the past two decades, the growth in exports of Finnish healthtech has been significantly faster than growth in exports overall.
Recent growth can be attributed to significant investments in digital solutions. Improved availability of appropriate financial instruments has also played a role. Many companies already manufacture devices that communicate amongst themselves and also with devices from other systems. Innovative digital solutions will be key to realizing the cost-savings promised by Finland’s plan for reform of its social welfare and health care services.
It is notable that the industry is innovating and making gains in just those areas where our government is facing its greatest challenges: trade and the costs of social welfare and health care.
The future will see an increase in citizen self-care and self-monitoring using a variety of portable and wearable sensors and mobile application. These trends are already visible in the offerings from FiHTA member companies, who are capitalizing on the intersection of digitalization and the internet of things (IoT).
Close collaboration with universities and university hospitals has been especially important in the development of our industry. A fresh reminder of what collaboration can offer is the first face transplant operation performed in Finland – the first in the Nordic countries. With the aid of 3D technology some of the surgical procedures could be performed for the first time ever – procedures that would have been considered impossible just a few years ago. We may not yet know for sure what comes next, but the potential for 3D technology in surgery is immense.
We have also witnessed closer cooperation within the health technology sector. A good example being the growth in FiHTA’s membership, which has risen 50% in five years. Finland has also witnessed an unprecedented startup boom, giving rise to a large number of companies based on digital technologies. Health technology plays a major role in the plans of many of these startups and we warmly welcome them to our fold.
In addition to startups, we also invite larger companies to become FiHTA members. Nokia, for example, has indicated that it is interested in the opportunities afforded by healthcare technologies.
The Finnish Health Technology Association (FiHTA)