Embracing innovation in medtech

Sweden’s technology-driven environment, characterised as it is by close collaboration between academia, healthcare and industry, has produced many notable medtech innovations that have saved lives and alleviated symptoms for millions of patients globally. The pacemaker, the gamma knife and renal dialysis are just a few examples. Swedish medtech companies are represented across the whole spectrum of the industry including two areas where Sweden rightfully can claim a world leading position - radiotherapy and imaging.

DIGITALISATION-DRIVEN INNOVATION

Digital solutions are increasingly important for the medtech industry. This is not only because it enables the development of new and better monitoring and other devices; digitalised add-on services are also becoming essential to stay competitive.

Digital solutions enable specialised care to move out of hospitals and into the patient’s own home. Digitalisation can also facilitate decision making for health care professionals by creating decision making support systems utilising data from both healthcare itself and/or from other sources. Sweden is a country with high levels of digital development , ranking 2nd in the world in the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) and 3rd out of 144 countries in the World Economic Forum’s Network Readiness Index 2013. Taking advantage of this, a number of initiatives implementing digital solutions as a way to improve healthcare are underway. Augmenting the existing infrastructure by further developing patient registries is just one investment by the government. In a drive to encourage Swedish citizens to take an active role in preventive measures and treatments, personal health records are being made accessible online 24/7. Currently, this has been implemented in a third of the counties, with the rest soon to follow.

NOVEL WAYS TO BOOST INNOVATION

In Sweden, all healthcare stakeholders are increasingly embracing the notion that progress can only be made by devising collaborations where different capabilities contribute to the whole. One example is The Innovation Centre at Karolinska University Hospital that enables companies, researchers and clinicians to co-create the best possible care. Länk>> Innovation centre Karolinska

For example, when Stockholm County Council looked to procure imaging and operational equipment for the new hospital, they took the bold decision not to copy and paste from previous procedures, but to take a whole new approach.

CASE "A NOVEL APPROACH TO PROCUREMENT"

Sweden has already made major progress in digitalising healthcare and has ambitious programs to advance this position even further.

  • 100% of all hospitals and primary care facilities use Electronic Health Record systems.
  • Over 80% of all drug prescriptions are performed electronically.
  • Close to 90% of all x-ray and laboratory test results are disseminated electronically.
  • All hospitals have switched to digital radiology solutions with digital archives.
  • All Swedes can make doctor’s appointments and renew prescriptions online.

Innovation in imaging has been in focus for a long time at Linköping University. Filling a void among today’s diagnostic tool kits, a new, sophisticated method to assess blood flow dynamics in cardiovascular diagnosis is under development. Once in clinical use, the method will potentially improve cardiac diagnosis.

CASE "ASSESSMENT OF CARDIOVASCULAR BLOOD FLOW USING 4D (TIME + RD) FLOW MRI”