Stephanie Lose, chairman, Danish Regions

Setting an Innovation Agenda for the Danish Healthcare ­System

The Danish Regions invites both small and large companies to help make the healthcare sector smarter, more innovative, and more responsive to patients’ needs.

In many ways, the Danish healthcare system is like a tanker. Its passengers include highly competent and skilled professionals. Like the ship’s engine, healthcare practices, interventions, and treatments are built upon proven and reliable theories and technologies. To maintain an optimal condition, the system is continuously updated based on a carefully designed plan to remain stable, secure, and cater to patients’ needs.

Each year more people are surviving a cancer diagnosis. In Denmark, 83 per cent of female and 81 per cent of male cancer patients are still alive one years after they are diagnosed with cancer. The mortality rate of people living with heart disease has gone down by 50 per cent the last 25 years, and there is reason to believe it will continue to decrease in the years ahead.

Despite these medical advances, the global population is aging at an unprecedented rate. It will take time to course correct and adjust the Danish healthcare system for the challenges that age-related diseases and illnesses will present.

Transporting blood samples by drone

Because they are quick, agile, and can reach remote locations, drones are enabling patients to access care, including transporting blood samples to Southern Denmark. A cousin concept – telemedicine – enables doctors to ‘enter the patient’s home’ and offer personalised care through video conferencing and apps. These pioneering solutions are strengthening Denmark’s healthcare system. And the ­regions are turning on all engines when it comes to the ­health innovation in the hospitals.

Logistically speaking, for hospitals to formally adopt these practices, stakeholder engagement is essential for tech transfer – calling for input from clinicians, allied health­care professionals, researchers, and administrative staff. That is because they know the issues on the ground and have ideas that can lead to novel and feasible solutions.

Patients must be part of the solution

Patients, as well as their relatives, play an important role in innovating healthcare. They should be given more opportunities to contribute to research, knowledge translation, problem-solving, and consulting based on their lived experiences navigating the system.

Holistic solutions can only arise from targeted and ­facilitated conversations with patients, citizens, professional groups, public sector players, private companies, knowledge institutions and interest groups.

For their part, health service providers can contribute expertise, innovative ideas, and testing environments that are of benefit to researchers, students, and the entire ­industry.

Health tech innovation board

This past June (2019), the Danish Regions and the Confederation of Danish Industry (Dansk Industri) jointly launched a strategy regarding health tech to make Denmark a leader of health technology solutions.

Supporting this, the regions have set up an innovation board where regions, as well as representatives from the business organizations Dansk Erhverv, Dansk Industri, and the Medicoindustrien will assess proposed solutions that the regions can then scale.

Creating an ecosystem for the 2020 HealthTech Summit

On September 2, 2020 the global health innovation ecosystem will come together for HealthTech Summit 2020. Regional leaders, municipal representatives, businesses, knowledge institutions, innovation centres, and funds will discuss health innovation challenges and solutions to increase collaboration across the innovation ecosystem.

Since the Danish Regions are open for collaboration amongst the different actors within the Danish Health tech ecosystem with the aim to improve processes and patient outcomes. The country is poised to set a new innovation course by working alongside knowledge institutions and industry. Everyone with a burning idea for how to improve the Danish healthcare system is invited to join in on the journey.