On September 14, Finnish Funding Agency for Innovations (Tekes) announced an initiative with IBM Watson Health to start developing Finnish digital health ecosystem and open partnerships by implementing a more extensive use of artificial intelligence. This major collaboration is hoped to create more global market opportunities for the companies in the health sector.

IBM plans to establish a Watson Health Care Center of Excellence, the first Nordic Healthcare Competence Centre and the first National Imaging Center of Excellence outside the US in Finland. These centres of excellence are expected to create 150 jobs in Finland and another 150 jobs for digital technology experts in the health industry and research. Tekes expects the partnership to accelerate creation of new start-up companies in Finland, gain new opportunities for Finland companies for global growth, and help to digitalize the country’s healthcare business sector for companies of all sizes.

“The agreement between Tekes and IBM will reinforce Finland’s position as a leading country in research and innovation in personalised healthcare, digital health and health technology. It will create new jobs and first-rate expertise, provide better healthcare at lower cost, promote exports and offer new growth opportunities for innovative Finnish companies,” says Minister of Economic Affairs Olli Rehn.

According to Deborah DiSanzo, general manager for IBM Watson Health, Finland was selected as a destination because of Finland’s “vision to restructure and digitilise its healthcare system, its tech-savvy citizens and mobile capabilities, and a social environment that supports a culture of health”.

Finland’s health ecosystem is characterized by full electronic health records and a nation-wide access to healthcare despite long distances and sparse population in certain areas. Also, Finnish public and private sector entities have for collaborated successfully in the field of health and wellness.

“The Tekes-IBM Watson Health partnership makes Finland a forerunner in health globally with Finnish citizens at the center as the ultimate beneficiaries. We are honored to work together to improve lives around the world,” DiSanzo concludes.

For more information:

Press release from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment

Press release from the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation