Nele Labi: State must create conditions for enabling innovation

According to Nele Labi, Deputy Secretary General for Innovation at the Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs, the state should not hamper innovation and instead create suitable conditions for innovation and ensure that no good idea misses an opportunity. Innovation is not about ideas but execution, she says.

Nele Labi will be one of the keynote speakers at the international conference held at the Arvo Pärt Centre on 7 December “Boosting the scale-up of digital innovation for Active and Healthy Ageing in Europe”, which will focus on innovation in health care.

We asked Nele Labi about the strengths of Estonia’s healthcare system, what the state is doing to extend people’s lives and how to boost innovation in the healthcare sector.

What are currently the biggest strengths of Estonia’s healthcare system? What do we do that sets an example for other countries?

It seems so basic to us to be able to see our health data in one place on a single national portal or to be able to book appointments across hospitals. This is, in fact, very exceptional in the world, which is why delegations from other countries visit Estonia almost every week; by now, people almost everywhere in the world have come to expect similar solutions.

You could say that at the time when work first began in Estonia on creating the Patient Portal, we had an advantage in that there was no other system around – we started from scratch. Those attempting to do the same today are faced with a much more difficult task because there are many players in health care and all of them now use some kinds of digital systems that may prove tricky to integrate. We have also established working practices and processes for the digital era and broad-based agreements must be made for centralised solutions. These aspects are complex and often costly for the parties involved. On the other hand, newcomers can learn from the choices of their predecessors. Hence the interest in Estonian solutions.

When the Estonian e-government is compared with other countries, our two main ‘competitors’ are Singapore and South Korea. We recently hosted delegations from these countries to examine Estonia’s Patient Portal. It is interesting to see how they are ahead of us in some respects, but at the same time they consider a centralised health information system as the ultimate goal. It is seen as one of the prerequisites for the next step in health innovation. Other countries take an interest in our Patient Portal in technological, managerial and societal terms.

How does the state plan to contribute to keeping people healthier and living longer?

All developments are designed to give people more years of healthy life and to achieve this, we are developing personalised medicine, testing prevention programmes, adding new screening tests, investing in awareness-raising, modelling patient journeys and so on. In any case, the focus is on prevention and early detection.

Since people have different paths in life, it is not possible to offer a universal solution. We must constantly adapt our solutions to people. For example – how to take into account that people today are travelling more than ever before. We have to consider this because not only do our people go on short tourist trips, but they can also live, study and work in other countries. One of the directions here is the transfer of health data across borders. For example, you can already take a digital prescription issued in Estonia to a pharmacy in Finland, Portugal or Croatia, and a person’s medical history statement can be sent with them to a number of countries if they so wish. We are also working on transferring lab tests and X-ray images. Provided that the patient wants to transfer such data, or course.

Where is the healthcare sector heading, both in Estonia and in neighbouring countries? Where is innovation going in this area?

Medicine is literally becoming more personalised for everyone. Adopting new methods and solutions will help us move in this direction. In addition, Estonia and neighbouring countries, especially Finland, have a good track record in collecting health data. We have to work out the best balance point to make sure that data, arguably the most valuable asset we have today, can be valued and so that companies can team up with researchers to develop new solutions, while guaranteeing privacy and security. Here, Estonia, together with Europe, is moving towards a solution through the single health data space that entails improved quality of care and a basis for research and innovation in health care. At the same time, Estonia is also setting up a consent service that will allow each individual to decide whether and with which companies they want to share their health data.

What do you think will be the next big thing in health care in Estonia?

I recall a conference where someone said that small countries basically have no big data, but Estonia does, because we started collecting digital data so long ago that our time series amount to years, thus making our data big data. Data are modern day oil. That being said, we still don’t know how to sufficiently add value to them. We face a number of obstacles, from quality to fears, but everyone understands that we benefit from data – data help us to draw conclusions, speed up diagnoses, provide more personalised treatment and save costs.

Estonians can already use the first data-driven proactive services and we are starting to create increasingly more tangible benefits from data. The next leap forward in health care and other sectors will certainly be based on data use and adding value to data. For this, we need to make data more widely available to facilitate innovation. There is, however, a major challenge to overcome when it comes to health and social data – how to give researchers and businesses access to high quality data at a sufficient level of detail while maintaining people’s privacy.

What should change or be done in your opinion to bring more innovation to health and social care? When might we see so-called unicorns in this field, for example?

Health and social care are increasingly seen as an integrated whole. Finland has made a lot of progress in harmonising these fields and Estonia has also managed to take steps in this direction. As both areas are constantly evolving, more emphasis should be placed on cooperation between the public and private sectors. Partnership is also important because we are small countries. We cannot implement centralised solutions for everything at the state level. And there is no need to – just as our e-government started as a partnership between the state and the private sector, we can develop it further along the same lines.

I like the idea of looking at innovation as evolution: innovation finds a way. Estonians gain a competitive advantage when the state doesn’t hamper innovation and instead creates suitable conditions for innovation and ensures that no good idea misses an opportunity. Innovation is not about ideas, it’s about execution.

Do you want to check out the IN-4-AHA participatory design process toolkit? You can access it here or download the related deliverable document here. And do not miss the opportunity to visit our page to discover all other IN-4-AHA key outputs.

Want to know more about IN-4-AHA and its outcomes, register now for the Final Conference of the project, taking place in Tallinn (and online) on 7th December 2022! Seats are limited, check out the event agenda and register now!

Discover the IN-4-AHA project outputs – Innovation scale-up model and roadmap (WP3 – D3.3)

This article is part of a series of editorials dedicated to discovering, at-a-glance, some of the most recent project outputs of the IN-4-AHA project.

In this article, we will focus on IN-4-AHA Innovation scale-up model and roadmap (D3.3), produced as part of the activities of Work Package 4 – Service testing and adoption.

To learn more about the playbook, we asked three key questions to Maarika Merirand, Project Manager at Tehnopol, lead partner for this IN-4-AHA product.

What is the IN-4-AHA scale-up model roadmap? 

The IN-4-AHA roadmap describes how the three most significant actors in the AHA innovation field should support implementing novel solutions on a large scale. The roadmap brings together conclusions from different parts of the IN-4-AHA project and proposes a strategic approach to innovation implementation.

 

Who is it intended for and what is the added value of this deliverable?

The health and care sector does have a large and diverse range of stakeholders, and the roadmap emphasises the importance of involving them.

However, innovators, enablers and policy-makers play the most significant role in scaling up. Innovators are companies, usually SMEs with novel services and products whose ambition is to internationalise. Enablers include a variety of business support organisations, from clusters and incubators to reference sites and living labs. Policy-makers include national, regional and European-level decision-makers. The roadmap proposes activities from short-term to long-term perspective, and outlines where actor groups should collaborate. More details on each activity can be found in other outputs of the IN-4-AHA project.

Do you want to check out the IN-4-AHA Living Lab testing and innovation scale-up playbook? You can access it directly on our website here or download it in document format here. And do not miss the opportunity to visit our page to discover all other IN-4-AHA key outputs.

Want to know more about IN-4-AHA and its outcomes, register now for the Final Conference of the project, taking place in Tallinn (and online) on 7th December 2022! Seats are limited, check out the event agenda and register now!

IN4AHA – Questionnaire on Public Procurement for Innovation (PPI) – Share your inputs by 2 December 2022!

 

The IN-4-AHA (Innovation Networks for Active and Healthy Ageing) consortium is seeking your collaboration for one of its final activities in the framework of Work Package 6..

 

IN-4-AHA is an European investigation project for the creation of Innovation Networks to improve the scalability of solutions for an Active and Healthy Ageing. The objective is to develop an innovation scale-up model for the large-scale deployment of technological or digital solutions for active and healthy ageing. In search of success, this project brings together both the supply (start-ups, SME’s, clusters, innovation / research groups, etc.) as well as the demand (health institutions, health centers, local governments, user associations, caregivers, etc.) to identify the key elements to improve the implementation of innovative solutions.

 

One of IN-4-AHA’s main activities is to promote the culture of cross-border impact investing through public and private procurement of health innovation. For this reason, we would like to know your opinion and count on your contributions in order to gather information about Public Procurement for Innovation (PPI) in your country.

 

You can access the questionnaire through the link below. Please send your contributions by December 2nd 2022, 18:00 CET.

Thank you very much! Should you have any questions, please reach out to the Gerencia Cluster Saúde gerencia@clustersaude.com, EUprojects CSG euprojects@clustersaude.com.

Please feel free to share this to possible interested colleagues/contacts, or your networks.

Discover the IN-4-AHA project outputs – Living Lab testing and innovation scale-up playbook (WP4 – D4.1)

This article is part of a series of editorials dedicated to discovering, at-a-glance, some of the most recent project outputs of the IN-4-AHA project.

In this article, we will focus on IN-4-AHA Living Lab testing and innovation scale-up playbook (D4.1), produced as part of the activities of Work Package 4 – Service testing and adoption.

To learn more about the playbook, we asked three key questions to Mervi Rajahonka, Senior Consultant at South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences Xamk, lead partner for this IN-4-AHA product.

What is the IN-4-AHA Playbook? What is its focus?

The living Lab testing and innovation scale-up playbook offers guidance on how to test innovative active and healthy ageing (AHA) solutions in living labs and how to scale them up.

 The playbook builds on two approaches – design thinking and lean startup – which are based on the idea that the co-creation of innovations with customers and end-users leads to better results.

 Moreover, creating valuable and scalable innovations in the AHA field requires multidisciplinary collaboration of a wide range of stakeholders. One of the environments bringing stakeholders together and supporting such collaboration is represented by living labs.

Who is the IN-4-AHA Playbook intended for?

The playbook is intended for startups but also for all parties interested in living lab testing and scaling up AHA innovations.

What is the added value of this deliverable? 

One of the main objectives of living labs is to minimise the innovation risk and maximise the likelihood of successful market entry.

For AHA innovations, using this opportunity to test ideas and solutions is particularly important because the health and care systems, practices and legislation are different in each EU country. The playbook offers guidance on how to test innovative AHA solutions for scaling up. It also offers tips and practical tools for self-assessment.

Do you want to check out the IN-4-AHA Living Lab testing and innovation scale-up playbook? You can access it directly on our website here or download it in document format here. And do not miss the opportunity to visit our page to discover all other IN-4-AHA key outputs.

Want to know more about IN-4-AHA and its outcomes, register now for the Final Conference of the project, taking place in Tallinn (and online) on 7th December 2022! Seats are limited, check out the event agenda and register now!

Join the EIT Health Matchmaking event in Tallinn, 5 – 6 December​

Just before the IN-4-AHA Final Conference on 7th December, Tallinn will host another key event for innovation in health.

 IN-4-AHA’s Consortium Partner EIT Health Scandinavia is excited to invite you to the final EIT Health Matchmaking event of the year, this time focused on how to define new models to deliver healthcare, and implementing robust analysis of databases that are already in place. At the centre of this will be the concept of value-based healthcare, where success measures are based on patient outcomes and the shift from treatment to prevention. 

The two flagships and challenges are: 

  • New models to deliver healthcare
  • Harnessing the full potential of health data for innovation

 

Why attending?

  • Be inspired by experts in High Value Care, new healthcare delivery models and health data for innovation and discover some best in practise use cases 
  • Hear from leading biobanks and health registers – find out how to access data and samples and discover some best in practise use cases  
  • Matchmake and schedule your 1-2-1 meetings to discuss current project proposals and plan for future ones 
  • Meet the EIT Health team to learn more about the two flagships calls  
  • Ask further questions and receive bespoke support from EIT Health about our call for projects, our platforms or any other EIT Health initiatives.  

 

Where: Radisson Collection Hotel, Tallinn 

Click here to see the full agenda and REGISTER NOW