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Opportunities and Challenges Facing Health Innovation in Denmark

SWOT analyse

On 13 November 2018, the Copenhagen Healthtech Cluster, Copenhagen Health Innovation and CACHET – Copenhagen Center for Health Technology held the conference Health Innovation Together. Among others, we had invited a panel consisting of six strong profiles to take the temperature of health innovation in Denmark. Get an overview here.

SWOT analyse

This was the second year in a row the Copenhagen Healthtech Cluster, Copenhagen Health Innovation and CACHET – Copenhagen Center for Health Technology held a sold-out conference on health innovation in the Maersk Tower. One of the main points of last year’s conference was that we must become better at working together across sectors. Therefore, health innovation together was chosen as the overall theme for this year’s conference.

Cooperation across sectors is not just part of the solution – it is a precondition for solving the challenges facing the health sector in the future. But how do we establish a framework for new innovative solutions to future health sector challenges together?

In order to make the wheel turn, we need to adjust all the cogwheels.

The conference was opened by a panel of six strong profiles who took the temperature of opportunities and challenges facing health innovation in Denmark in a live SWOT analysis.

Below we outline four of the main strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges stressed by the panel in the analysis.

The panel consisted of:

Outstanding Health Data: Great Potential for Further Developing and Improving the Danish Healthcare System

Denmark can pride itself on having some of the world’s best health data records, which hold great potential for further developing and improving the healthcare system. Both Peter Høngaard Andersen, Kristian Hart-Hansen and Diana Arsovic Nielsen highlighted the Danish records as a strength within health innovation in Denmark. The challenge is that the accessible health data are scattered across various databases to which only a few professions have access, Kristian Hart-Hansen argued. He thus addressed the very basis of a conference titled Health Innovation Together.

A main challenge when it comes to using health data is increasing scepticism in the population with regard to sharing personal health data following recent conflicts involving Cambridge Analytica, among others. Synthetic data is one way of avoiding some of the ethical challenges of non-anonymised health data.

Excellent Research Environments: Train Students in Interdisciplinary Thinking and Development

Rasmus Larsen and Bente Merete Stallknecht highlighted the Danish research environments as a strength when it comes to using health innovation. But according to Martin Vesterby, the clinical environments are characterised by extreme one-track professional competences.

Train people in interdisciplinary development. We need to interact at an earlier stage to build competences.

These were the words of Martin Vesterby.

Strikingly, the majority of the panel considered silo thinking a weakness. Under weaknesses, the yellow, purple, green and blue cards on the board held statements like ‘Extreme one-track professional competences’, ‘In-the-box thinking and suboptimisation’, ‘Research rooted in different organisations’, ‘Difficulty cooperating across sectors’ and ‘Health data are scattered’.

Technological research is rooted in one university, while health and medical research is conducted at a different university.

These are the words of Rasmus Larsen.

The panel agreed that we need to train students in interdisciplinary development and thinking in order to facilitate cooperation across study programmes and industries.

SWOT analyse

Better Global Vision: Denmark Is Losing Ground in the International Competition

New technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning offer access to new parts of the healthcare system, and we have high potential for seizing the globally expanding market for health technology,

said Rasmus Larsen. Denmark has a chance to become a world leader in these areas if we keep up with the global development. ‘But other countries are ahead of us in the international competition’, he argued.

Kristian Hart-Hansen agreed. He pointed out that the Netherlands, France and Great Britain are already making huge investments in artificial intelligence, and Denmark will lose this opportunity if we do not act fast. He stressed that Denmark could become a hub for cooperation and development of artificial intelligence – one of the main fields in future healthcare.

Access to health technology should be rooted in the universities. Denmark has high-quality universities that help attract international students to the country. In addition, we have a good start-up culture, of which we need to make better use.

’Denmark is losing ground, as the global competition becomes fiercer’,

said Bente Merete Stallknecht.

Data-Driven Transition from Disease-Oriented to Health-Oriented Healthcare System

We should change the healthcare system from a disease-oriented system to a health-oriented one.

These are the words of Peter Høngaard Andersen.

Diana Arsovic Nielsen stressed the financial pressure on the healthcare system as one of the main challenges. More people require treatment, and this increases the demand for quick treatment. Five per cent of the population are responsible for 50 per cent of the country’s healthcare expenses, said Peter Høngaard Andersen. The future healthcare system should assign greater weight to prevention.

Diana Arsovic Nielsen considered the fact that the healthcare system is divided into specialties – not centred around the patient a challenge. On the other hand, she recognised the potential in considering patient participation a driving force in the development of the healthcare system.

We are divided into specialties – not centred around the patient.

See the full result of the SWOT analysis here:

SWOT analyse
Den Europæiske Socialfond