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Merger of Danish Health Clusters Will Strengthen the Sector

Five Danish Health Clusters will merge in to one National Health Cluster for Life Sciences and Welfare ­Technology. The new organisation must strengthen collaboration between businesses, universities and health care providers on innovative products and solutions to ensure growth, export and better health care for all.

Life science and welfare technology is 1 of 12 national focus areas for Danish industry development. A new national cluster will replace the five existing regional clusters in Aalborg, Aarhus, Odense and Copenhagen. By joining forces, they intend to become a driving force for world-class innovation within health care and welfare technology. Today Denmark is lagging behind other countries in areas like sharing of health data and artificial intelligence (AI). That is one of the reasons why stakeholders in the life sciences have decided to create a strong national organisation that can accelerate the collaboration between organisations and companies in the health care space.

New opportunities for optimised solutions arise when data sharing and AI generate breakthroughs
Tenna Korsbek Andreasen, CEO of MTIC

According to Troels Bierman Mortensen, CEO of Welfare Tech, one of the largest health clusters in Denmark: “The Healthcare sector is very important to Denmark. We have many small and medium sized companies and some large global players within pharma, biotech, world class researchers and an efficient health care system. But advances in digitisation, sharing of health data and personalised medicine are fundamental challenges for all players in the industry. Innovation Fund Denmark estimates in a recent report that AI alone has the potential to improve the welfare of Danes by approximately DKK 9 billion annually through better and more efficient and personalised medicine. They recommend strengthened collaboration between research organisations and SMEs as the road to success. A strong national cluster for Life Sciences and Welfare Technology can play a key role in facilitating such collaborations.”

Life sciences and welfare technology: Strengthening industry collaboration

The new cluster for Life Sciences and Welfare Technology will serve as a national one-stop-shop with regional hubs where private companies, investors, research and educational institutions, and health care providers like hospitals and municipalities can meet and work collaboratively on developing and implementing new innovative solutions.

Two of the existing clusters, Medtech Innovation Consortium (MTIC) and Welfare Tech are working closely to build the national cluster for Life Sciences and Welfare Technology. According to Jørgen Bardenfleth, Chairman of the Board of Directors of MTIC: “Creating a national cluster in life sciences and welfare technology is the right move. This will give Denmark an improved position on the global market and provide better opportunities for Danish manufacturers of digital, technological, biotechnological, and medical solutions.”

Business development opportunities

Both the public and the private sector stand to benefit from one strong national cluster. Companies will have easier access to research, and hospitals and municipalities can enter in to partnerships to develop new solutions that meet existing and new demand for health and care. Both MTIC and Welfare Tech are facilitating projects that see several sectors working together to improve the health sector. One example of such collaboration is drones for public health services, another is a Internet of Things laboratory where new solutions can be tested in a real life setting.

At MTIC, 9 out of 10 innovation projects are based on the use of data from across the health care space. For instance, the project “The ambulatory care clinic of the future” combines 2 digital solutions in a digital outpatient clinic course. And the project “Cross-sectoral diet registration” supports the registration and calculation of the weekly dietary intake of elderly people, among other things.

Cooperation yields knowledge and evidence

The entire healthcare sector is facing significant challenges, making the creation of a national cluster very timely.

As Tenna Korsbek Andreasen, CEO of MTIC, explains: “New opportunities for optimised solutions arise when data sharing and AI generate breakthroughs. Companies of all sizes require the latest clinical evidence, and hospitals and the public sector require collaboration with businesses.

So now we have to join forces to help build better ­health systems for all.”