inDemand—healthcare professionals from Oulu University Hospital (OYS) and health companies work hand in hand
The co-creation of the four eHealth solutions selected in the first round of the inDemand project is proceeding as scheduled. In September, the companies and healthcare professionals involved took part in the third co-creation workshop at the OYS TestLab to discuss further steps.
Co-creation of new eHealth solutions is up and running in Oulu
Oulu is one of the three regions in Europe chosen for implementing an innovative project, inDemand. The main objectives of this initiative are to validate a new model for innovation co-creation between companies and healthcare organizations and, as a result, generate more digital health solutions. The project started in 2017, but its official kick-off meeting in Oulu was held on 18 June, 2018 at OYS. inDemand provides solutions to challenges identified by healthcare organizations, so it’s strictly based on a demand-driven model. The four SMEs selected to address the challenges of the Oulu region are Buddy Healthcare, ProWellness, Delfoi and Sense4Health. These companies are aiming to create novel eHealth products and services that will be ready at the end of this year. In September, OYS TestLab hosted the third co-creation workshop for the challenge solvers. The companies presented their final Co-creation & Business Support Work Plans to the OYS stakeholders, introduced their solutions and planned test trials scheduled for October. However, the main idea of these workshops was to evaluate and comment on the current versions of the new digital health solutions that will arise from inDemand.
Innovative solutions for the benefit of patients and healthcare professionals
‘Co-creation with healthcare professionals is the best way to guarantee that a company stays focused on developing the right solution.’
Mika Sipilä, CEO at ProWellness
A hospital is one specific environment for developing health solutions. According to Jarmo Salo, Administrative Deputy Chief Physician at Oulu University Hospital, finding enough time to participate in the meetings and workshops with companies is not always an easy thing to arrange. However, with all the parties equally motivated and actively involved, the project brings positive results.
‘One of the best things about inDemand is the opportunity to work on the solutions that fully meet the needs of health professionals and can really secure better services for patients. I was glad to see that all the opinions and suggestions were carefully listened to. Companies were active during the co-creation process and eager to receive feedback that helped them improve their solutions. On the whole, being part of this project and seeing how it proceeds in practice is a very positive experience,’ said Salo.
inDemand focuses on improvements for all parties involved in this project. Firstly, healthcare professionals are able to shape their job content and influence their choice of electronic services that will be put into practice in the future in order to make their everyday work easier. Secondly, inDemand creates business opportunities for private companies. And let’s not forget patients that will have access to better healthcare services and, with the use of new solutions, they will be more in control of their health.
One of the challenge solvers, Delfoi, is developing a solution for better planning/reservation system for more efficient room and resource allocation. According to Tomi Nurmi, Project Manager at Delfoi, the valuable advantage of this project is the fact that it provides a company with access to a large scale healthcare organization and its expertise.
‘I am happy to have the opportunity to work with excellent professionals from OYS and Business Oulu. They have given me useful new information to grow as a professional, to develop our product and to reach for international markets,’ commented Nurmi.
Another challenge solver, ProWellness, is working on a new type of follow-up service and a communication platform for young Type 1 diabetics, their families and clinicians at hospital. The company’s solution integrates with the diabetes management system used at hospitals in Finland, the UK and Ireland.
‘I warmly recommend inDemand to other health companies. Healthcare professionals are the experts in their work. They know best their own workflows and what they need in terms of the content of developed solutions. Co-creation with healthcare professionals is the best way to guarantee that a company stays focused on developing the right solution. In the case of start-ups, business development support is also of great importance,’ explained Mika Sipilä, CEO at ProWellness.
The inDemand project is another clear example of a successful collaboration between healthcare professionals and health companies in Oulu. The companies will now continue to refine their solutions and work on a Lean Canvas to make the most of business support that is available for them.
‘BusinessOulu offers individualized business support to each SME so that they can start working on the Go-to-Market Plan. Main topics to discuss include, for example, pricing strategy and earning logic, as well as new business development in the healthcare industry and internationalization opportunities,’ concluded Heini Malm, Senior Advisor on business development at BusinessOulu.
inDemand’s first round will culminate in the final event on 11 December 2018. Meanwhile, the collection of development proposals for the second round has already begun. At the beginning of 2019, OYS will publish new challenges, and the next call for SMEs will open.
More information about inDemand available here.
Designer of Innovation Services at Oulu University Hospital
Senior Advisor, Business Development
Text: Joanna Seppänen, Communications Coordinator, OuluHealth, BusinessOulu