MY TWO CENTS: Leigh Ewin
One of the biggest issues that we face in today’s world is the ever-increasing strain on health care resources whilst attempting to find an efficient way to allow for everyone to have access to healthcare. This to many, means the conversion of healthcare to be proactive rather than reactive.
The issue with us as human beings, is that we remain totally transfixed to the “daily grind” that we don’t stop (to take a check up with our Dr) until we actually have an issue that prevents us from our daily tasks. Many of us take our car in for a service, check the oil, change the tyres, more often than we go to a Dr and get a check up. Despite Finland’s excellent healthcare system, this is still very much the case.
There are now a number of Finnish companies looking to ride the wave of transformation in how we approach our health on an individual basis. Giving the individual technology to monitor our own health on a daily basis is very much like the dashboard of a car, we can check the gas tank (nutrition), speed (rest) and revolutions of he motor (fitness level).
Wearables is a hot topic globally, and is the simple term given to practically any piece of technology that we attach to ourselves and wear.
With Apple’s launch of the “Apple Watch” we are able to begin to see what kind of interaction one can have through the wearable device and it is the interaction through software (apps) that has people excited about this product and probably others in the marketplace. This is where social meets healthcare.
Finland has a unique vantage point in this industry thanks in part to our history with large telecommunications companies who have created a real high expertise level in hardware and integrated different sensors and near field communications technology (the same technology that is used in your travel card – designed in Finland). Functional design is also something that Finland has in abundance and was a key reason as to why Helsinki was named World Design Capital 2012.
Aalto University and University of Helsinki have a number of design programs that are producing highly interesting concepts and prototypes in this area and the cross pollination of science, technology and design is helping us look at solving these healthcare issues across these different platforms.
These key areas of expertise are allowing for a new wave of tech startups to force their way into the limelight and in turn provide real options and solutions in healthcare. It wasn’t too long ago that we felt our elderly population didn’t know how to use a smartphone nor were they eager to learn to use one. Now we are seeing smartphones in every corner and certainly not only at the hands of the younger population.
Wearables will end up the same way. Everyone will be wearing a device that keeps logs of your daily movement and fitness levels. With the high density of wearable startups in Finland, the chances are you will be wearing a Finnish-made product sooner or later.
All MY TWO CENTS: helsinkitimes.fi/columns/my-two-cents