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Working with Norway Health Tech to support international collaboration

Written by: Neil Toner - 28th January 2021

In this blog, Neil Toner, one of our Programme Managers, shares his experience of working as part of the Enterprise and Innovation team at Yorkshire & Humber AHSN and his recent involvement with Norway Health Tech.

I have recently joined  the Enterprise and Innovation team at Yorkshire & Humber AHSN. My focus is on working to develop international programmes and in particular supporting international companies interested in collaborating with the NHS.

I have been working hard to establish and develop relationships with partners who will support the programme with key expertise, funding and business advice, locally, nationally, and internationally.

This has included working with the Northern Powerhouse, Department of International Trade (DIT) teams and Market Advisors based abroad, Local Enterprise Partnership (LEPs) in Leeds, Sheffield and Hull to align with their inward investment plans and finally internationally with industry bodies who do similar work to us to promote innovation in healthcare and share our values.

The programme aims are:

  • Find new SME innovators that meet an unmet need in the region, support the priorities of our NHS partners and deliver better outcomes for patients.
  • Support opportunities that can bring new innovators and jobs into the region and building economic growth for Yorkshire and the Humber.
  • Enable the AHSN, alongside our partners, to offer companies from our region the support they need to export their innovations abroad.
  • Develop a standard approach and offering for our work in international markets, both for import and export.
  • Feed this programme approach, aims, achievements and lessons learnt into the development of the AHSN Network International programme.

One of our key partners on the programme is Norway Health Tech and we are collaborating on a series of events during 2021.

Norway Health Tech

Norway Health Tech’s mission is to improve quality in treatment and care by developing and scaling world class health solutions through its members and eco-system. They aim to create sustainable solutions to global health challenges, by facilitating international collaborations and growth in the Norwegian health industry.

Starting life as a cluster in 2009 they currently have 280 members from the whole eco-system. They work on the dissemination of innovative solutions that answer to unmet medical needs, cross-sector cooperation, and ensure that their members have the best contacts and relationships of relevant stakeholders in the global ecosystem.

Norway and our region have a very similar populations, but here are some more facts about Norway:

  • Population 5.35 million
  • 11 counties and 356 municipalities.
  • Life expectancy age is 82.5
  • Country has been said to be one of the safest and most equal in the world.
  • Public healthcare system
  • The country has a high adaptivity of digital solutions.
  • The country spends 049% of GDP on health (2018 number) according to The World Bank. Even though the spend based on % of GDP is close to average, the expenditure per capita is among the highest in the world. One explanation (according to the OECD report) is that Norway allocates more to long-term care services than any other country.

Our events

The first of our events will introduce Norwegian SME innovators to the UK healthcare system and UK innovators to the Norwegian health system. Throughout the year we are planning a series of virtual events to share knowledge, map innovations to unmet needs in the system, explore opportunities to pilot new solutions and establish long-term relationships to benefit us all.

Our first event took place on 12th January with an Introduction and Pitch Session for Norwegian SMEs. I presented an introduction to the AHSNs, talking about what we do, why we do it and how we collaborate to bring growth and positive outcomes. Following this, Chris McKee from the Innovation team at Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust, provided a high-level introduction to the NHS, Leeds hospitals, and how they engage with innovators and the plans for the Hospitals of the Future.

Both talks were very well received by the audience and then a Q&A session allowed the SMEs to ask more specific questions.

Then each SME gave a 10-minute introductory pitch covering the solution, the problem they address supported by any evidence available, level of spread in Norway and what they would like from the UK market.

The 6 companies that pitched were:

  • VAR Healthcare
    VAR Healthcare provides evidence-based procedures that are always up to date and that have been prepared using systematic methods.
  • Thula
    Thula is an Iceland based software company with special domain expertise and broad experience in the field of healthcare informatics and integrations.
  • Norse Feedback
    Norse Feedback is a clinical tool designed to measure and monitor clinical outcomes, promote good clinical conversations with clients, and to help therapists and healthcare institutions to improve treatment quality.
  • Imatis AS
    Imatis is a leading provider of digital healthcare solutions to any type of healthcare organization.
  • Otivio AS
    Otivio AS is a privately owned company. Otivio’s main product, FlowOx™, is addressing peripheral arterial disease, is a non-invasive product intended for home use.
  • Dossier Solutions
    Dossier Solutions is the people platform for organisations who understand and appreciate the importance to boost organisational capability through increasing individual competence.

The event was a big success, and we heard about some  interesting solutions, all at different stages of spread and adoption. It was a very positive discussion and we have received some excellent feedback from the Norwegian SMEs who appreciated our positive and honest feedback to each of their presentations and solutions. Now that we understand the solutions better, we can offer more one-to-one support for those companies interested in working with the region and help identify the unmet needs they could help with.

We are currently planning our next event on the 4th of February to run a similar session, but this time for some handpicked SMEs from the Yorkshire and Humber region and beyond that have an innovation to share with Norway!

I’ll post another blog on this event next month.