New business opportunities from health data – VTT and HHub join forces
Dec 18, 2020
Hhub is building an ecosystem of exercise, health promotion and well-being and is part of the Hippos project coordinated by the City of Jyväskylä and Business Jyväskylä
Cooperation with VTT (Technical Research Centre of Finland) creates interesting future opportunities for the HHub ecosystem, especially in the various uses of health data. Both HHub and VTT are keen to produce predictive well-being solutions that utilize data and are societally impactful.
Nina Rautiainen, project manager of the HHub ecosystem, sees significant potential in the cooperation between VTT and HHub.
– VTT is a strong partner for Jyväskylä’s innovation ecosystem, which focuses on cutting-edge research in health promotion and well-being, she exults.
Health data can remedy the world
There is more and more data available – so it is with health-related data as well. At VTT, a 25-member Smart Health research group, led by Jari Ahola, is familiar with the sources of health data and its integration and utilization in current research.
Although the law that came into force in the spring of 2019 allows for the secondary use of health data, Ahola says obtaining health information from different sources is a complex and long-term process in practice.
– This is nevertheless our strong area of expertise: we know what the quality of the data is, how long it will take to obtain it and how permit procedures work to get things going smoothly, he promises.
One important way to use data is to offer different simulations to support societal decision-making. For example, how investing in a particular issue affects society and the well-being of citizens.
– For example, in 2018, Finland’s health care spending was EUR 21.1 billion (public+private), so from an economic point of view this is a significant expense in the Finnish national budget of about EUR 55 billion, Ahola points out.
– Preventive work can significantly slow down or even halt certain diseases of affluence. In this situation, everybody wins: both the patient and society.
HHub and VTT are studying the possibilities of health data
The co-operation between VTT and HHub is largely built around the utilization of health data.
– Our approach to well-being is technical and starts from how certain physiological things can be measured in a person. Measurement and data are tools and factors that cut across well-being, Ahola emphasizes.
The things that can be measured are very diverse: they can be simple, like measuring heart rate interval or on the other end, very challenging like developing algorithms or measuring EEG signals of the brain.
Naturally, interpreting data also requires expertise, which is where health and well-being professionals come in. Ahola believes there is a strong synergy advantage here, since VTT and HHub complement each other’s competencies.
– For example, if the knowledge surrounding health registry sources and biobanks can be combined with existing data, you can create even more detailed and personal health recommendations for everyone, Ahola suggests.
Applying for funding and leading projects is in VTT’s DNA
VTT brings more to the HHub ecosystem than expertise in health data and physiological measurement. Because VTT runs several projects simultaneously, professional management of development projects of is part of their core competence.
–For the same reason, we also have years of experience of utilizing various financial instruments, Ahola says.
– In Finland, we know both small and large financial institutions well, and there are also plenty of alternatives at the Nordic and European level. The choice of a suitable instrument depends on what we are doing, at what stage the research is, and whether we are taking products to market, he clarifies.
– In international projects, we are known for our thorough commitment, strong ethics and the results achieved according to research conventions. We are a valued and desired partner – we do what we promise.