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Towards a more collaborative Nordic health sector

Innovative Nordic welfare solutions has been selected as one of five so called lighthouse projects in the new Nordic collaboration program for innovation and business policy.
  • Publisert 15.11.2013
Increased dialogue between procurers and suppliers in the Nordic health sector was in focus at the first Medtech Nordic Procurement Conference, which gathered more than 100 public and private actors from across the Nordic region in Oslo on 13 November.



Dilek Ayhan, State Secretary at the Norwegian Ministry of Trade and Industry, opened the conference by quoting Charles Darwin.


- It is neither the strongest nor the most intelligent species that survive, but the ones that are most responsive to change.


She highlighted the role of public procurement as a strategic tool to create demanding markets that generate innovative solutions.


- To overcome the major challenges of our Nordic welfare states, we must strengthen the dialogue between procurers and suppliers.



Defining the unmet need

The main objective of the conference was to share best practice and experiences within innovation procurement from the Nordic countries and beyond, and to discuss tools for implementing new technology and solutions.


Brian Winn, BITECIC, introduced the British National Innovation Center’s 5-stage development process.

  1. Define the unmet need
  2. Design the solution
  3. Develop the opportunity
  4. Demonstrate the benefit
  5. Distribute the product

- The first stage is the most important. Then the other ones will follow automatically, Winn said.



Changing critical attitudes
Mikko Alkio, advisor for the Finnish Ministry of Economy and Employment, highlighted that public procurement should be a crucial part of innovation policies, not an isolated island.


- There is no use designing policy strategies if the market is not innovation friendly. We must change these critical attitudes, increase the procurement expertise and know-how and create a closer relationship between the market and the procurers.


Alkio also said that there is a need for collaboration arenas like the Medtech Nordic Procurement Conference. Olle Hillborg, representing Stockholm County Council Innovation System, agreed:


- Perhaps we could consider establishing a Nordic Innovation Procurement Council to present new, innovative products to each other, and explore the possibilities to enter neighbor markets.



“E-procurement is the future”
Each year, the public authorities in the European Union spend 18% of their GDP on goods, services and works. The aim of a modernisation of European rules on public tendering is to simplify the rules and procedures and make them more flexible. One of the actions it to extend the use of electronic public procurement.


- Electronic means are the future, in few years e-procurement will become mandatory. If you are not working with this now, go home and figure out how to do it, the advice was to the conference participants.


Yves Verboven, MedTech Europe, said that the public expenditure on health of GDP has been growing tremendously – and will continue to grow in the future. In addition, definitions like “total lifetime cost of treatment” will become the new norm.


- There is a shift in mindset to investing in health for society and economic growth, and we need new tools to be able to value these factors.


Nishan Sunthares from Association of British Healthcare Industries said that this is the time to start thinking outside organizational boxes and resolve silo budgeting.


- We must create a new approach to accountability!



Increased Nordic collaboration
At the conference, there was also a status update on the 3 collaboration projects funded through Nordic Innovation’s program Innovation in the Health Sector through Public Procurement and Regulation.


In addition, Mona Truelsen and Arvid Løken, senior innovation advisers at Nordic Innovation, presented future efforts within the area of health and welfare innovation in the Nordic region. Innovative Nordic welfare solutions has been selected as one of five so called lighthouse projects in the new Nordic collaboration program for innovation and business policy, which is initiated by the Nordic Ministers of Trade and Industry and will run in the period 2014-17.


- We invite you to a conference in spring, where the project will be launched, to share your thoughts and ideas. More information will follow!



The Medtech Nordic Procurement Conference was arranged by LFH, the Norwegian Association for Health and Welfare Technology and Nordic partners, and sponsored by Nordic Innovation.


See presentations from the conference here.