HealthShare: Fighting hospital acquired infections and bacterial resistance in the Baltic Sea region with new diagnostic tools and services
Hospital acquired infections and emerging bacterial resistance are threats to our societies. The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks 2014 report includes antibiotic resistance among the top societal risks confronting the world. Add to this that global health systems are stressed due to factors such as demographic changes, cost effectiveness, rising consumer power and patient mobility. This calls for action in the Baltic Sea region as we successfully may collaborate to find solutions.
Authors in alphabetical order: Daan Bultje (Healthy Ageing Network Northern Netherlands), Thomas Frahm (Life Science Nord), Peter Frank (ScanBalt), Frank Graage (Steinbeis Team Northeast), Lars Lindsköld (Region Västra Götaland), Kristina Mateikienė (Santara Valley), Gudrun Mernitz (BioCon Valley),Henrik Mindedahl (MedTech West), Tero Piispanen (Turku Science Park), Jesper B. Simonsen (Region Northern Denmark), Per Spindler (BioPeople, Denmark’s Life Science Cluster).
A new proposed project “HealthShare” aims to link clinical test sites with regional innovation support in the Baltic Sea region in order to speed up the development of new diagnostic tools and services, improve utilization of existing research and innovation infra structure and promote smart specialization. Thereby preventive measures and treatments will be more effective and the competitiveness of small and medium sized enterprises working in the sector be enhanced.
The ambition is to reach the current infection level of the Netherlands within a five-year period. This is an ambition set for the Nordic Countries by Nordic Council of Ministers 2014, which is reasonable to apply to the Baltic Sea region. In addition HealthShare will promote the Baltic Sea region as a leader in the development, production and application of new diagnostic tools and services.
The Baltic Sea Region as a hub for diagnostic tools and services
BSR already has many well-experienced clinical study centers, a high number of companies with focus on infection control and is hosting some of the main European and global initiatives within antimicrobial resistance and hospital acquired infections.
This can provide a boost to medical technology and services in BSR which according to a market analysis prepared in 2014 by Nord LB Bank for ScanBalt® fmba benefits from operating in a dynamic BSR growth market for medical innovations. Thus, the BSR med-tech industry and service providers have ample opportunities to bring new products and services to the BSR market and expand on the European and global markets.
New innovative products and services are a significant advantage for the public and private healthcare providers which will be able to better track and stop the spread of drug-resistant infections in their facilities, thereby protecting patients and saving lives provided the new innovations are applied for practical use. So HealthShare will assist to reach the ambitions for bringing down the infection levels by promoting uptake of new innovations in the health care systems.
HealthShare to overcome gaps and barriers for applying new innovations
A major obstacle for bringing new diagnostic tools and services faster and more effective to the market is too low collaboration between hospital clinics and companies. HealthShare therefore aims to facilitate such collaborations.
In particular SMEs struggle to have easy access to existing clinical infrastructure in order to validate diagnostic tools and services. Despite there would be huge benefits of regarding BSR as one market for validation it is in practice often very complicated to do so on a trans-national basis mainly due to different procedures.
On the other hand, professionals working in the clinics are often burdened by increasing hospital routines and lack of knowledge about innovation and so have difficulties being involved in the innovation processes despite their good ideas and interest. This will also require a positive attitude towards demand oriented product and process innovation.
The key to overcome the gaps and barriers is that test sites in the clinics should combine a stronger orientation towards industry clients with their medical expertise and be able to rely on data from clinics in other countries thereby improving the clinician’s in-house interaction with new product and service development.
The role of innovation units in the dialogue between the clinics and the SMEs is crucial. So HealthShare will analyze the different setups and different ways of balancing the tasks and responsibilities between clinics and innovation units in servicing the SMEs in order to promote and develop the test center model.
HealthShare expects to include external expertise from Northern Netherlands in the project as they demonstrate the best practice in Europe. HealthShare can thus gain valuable knowledge by consulting with a neighboring area which is strongly linked to the Baltic Sea region.
The article is produced as follow-up to an EU pre-seed project PATHOS which prepared the HealthShare project now being proposed to potential sources of funding. HealthShare is part of the EU Baltic Sea region’s flagship HealthRegion (Priority area 7 “Innovation” in the strategy).
For membership of ScanBalt see here.