Next summer, Helsinki will become the center of attention in the digital health world. On June 11–13, 2019, Finland’s capital will host the HIMSS & Health 2.0 European Conference — the biggest and most significant annual digital health event in Europe.
After the first successful combination of the HIMSS Europe and Health 2.0 conferences in Sitges, Spain last May, the event continues bringing together their unique strengths at the Helsinki event.
Similar to its sister event in the US, the HIMSS & Health 2.0 European Conference in Helsinki is expected to gather thousands of international health influencers ranging from investors, healthcare professionals, hospital CEOs and technology giants to innovative startups and SMEs. Furthermore, there’s an option that the conference will return to Helsinki in 2020 and 2021.
But what exactly made Helsinki the location of choice for such a major digital health event—and, importantly, what can Finland gain from this?
“During the previous HIMSS and Health 2.0 events, the global HIMSS organization has learned to know Finland as an active developer of novel digital health solutions”, Koponen says and continues: “In general, Finland has managed to build a strong reputation for the advanced digital health solutions that we have to offer.”
According to Mr. Kimmo Koponen, Senior Business Advisor in health and life sciences at Helsinki Business Hub, Helsinki was a natural choice for hosting the European event for several reasons. “During the previous HIMSS and Health 2.0 events, the global HIMSS organization has learned to know Finland as an active developer of novel digital health solutions”, Koponen says and continues: “In general, Finland has managed to build a strong reputation for the advanced digital health solutions that we have to offer.”
Indeed, the field of digital health in Finland has an excellent reputation, and rightly so. Digital skills have been evaluated as Finland’s greatest relative strength and digital public services in Finland were recently deemed the best in EU. Globally, Finland ranks first in availability of latest technologies, future workforce skills, and the availability of scientists and engineers. Furthermore, over the last two decades, the value of Finnish health tech export has increased more than five-fold. It is no surprise that the HIMSS organization has also been convinced.
But can the Finnish health tech companies live up to all the digital health hype? According to Koponen, they definitely can. He believes that the coming HIMSS Europe & Health 2.0 will give companies a unique opportunity to validate their quality statements in the eyes of experienced professionals. As HIMSS & Health 2.0 guests range from investors and potential buyers to future customers and collaborators, showcasing at the conference can be a true gamechanger for startups and SMEs. But instead of dry technical facts and lengthy Power point presentations, these guests are in the lookout for concrete, evidence-based real-life solutions.
“The average HIMSS & Health 2.0 guests want to see practical examples of how digital health solutions are utilized to improve patient care or enhance patient experience, and their interests range from diagnostics and drug discovery to disease prevention and elderly care”, Koponen points out.
However, it is not only companies that have the opportunity to showcase their innovations at HIMSS Europe & Health 2.0. Koponen makes the point that the Finnish public sector healthcare organizations are constantly developing elegant digital health solutions that promote efficient, accessible, and high-quality patient care. As an example, Health Village (Terveyskylä.fi) is a digital health hub developed and run by Finnish university hospitals; it provides nationwide eHealth services both for patients and healthcare professionals and has already raised interest outside Finland as well.
On a national level, Koponen considers HIMSS Europe & Health 2.0 a premium opportunity to further raise Finland’s profile as a dynamic environment optimal for developing new health tech and personalized health innovations. As an example, he would highlight Finland’s pioneering public–private partnerships and the ongoing improvements in legislation related to health data. “This way, it is possible to attract investments but also cross-border R&D projects”, Koponen notes.
Currently, the global HIMSS organization is on the lookout for interesting cases, both from Finland and abroad, to be presented at the Finnish HIMSS & Health 2.0 European Conference. As Helsinki Business Hub is actively involved in building the program selection, Koponen strongly encourages companies and teams to directly contact him to express their interest in participating the event. “Now is the right time to brag about your innovative solutions and bring your ideas to daylight”, he says with a smile.
“Now is the right time to brag about your innovative solutions and bring your ideas to daylight”
Koponen also emphasizes that it is not only polished and perfected cases that are sought after; works in progress can be extremely interesting and, at the same time, potential cases for the coming two years are being explored already.
For those organizing the event or showcasing their products at it, Koponen gives something to think about: “Similar to eating at a fine restaurant, this kind of event is not just about what is served, it’s all the fine details of how it is served that finally define our experience and the way we react to the content”.
Koponen emphasizes that to guarantee success at HIMSS & Health 2.0, it is important to design a setting in which world-class content is supported by thoughtful presentation and excellent execution. “In short, everything we present should look, feel, and taste good”.
All in all, Koponen is convinced that the Helsinki edition of HIMSS & Health 2.0 European Conference will provide a unique experience for international guests.
“We have excellent candidates showcasing their innovative solutions for future healthcare”, he says and continues, “We are expecting a broad setting of great evidence-based cases, both private and public, presented in a way that speaks to the audience and thus leads to new pilots, partnerships, investments, and sales”.
Writer: Kaisa Oksanen, Health Capital Helsinki