Forty Estonian health and technology companies have founded a joint Estonian Connected Health Cluster (ECHC). The cluster aims to use shared data in order to create new innovative products and services that would help to improve quality of life and increase exports.
The cluster was created on the initiative of Tallinn Science Park Tehnopol. It includes health, medical and technology companies, universities, medical establishments and support organisations. Joint efforts should lead to the launch of new exportable health technology products.
Külle Tärnov, one of the leaders of ECHC, said that many devices and applications collect and store health data, but this is not yet systematically used to improve health care and prevent illnesses. ECHC aims to put the collected information into better use.
"Today, people are rather willing to enter their personal data into health care databases, in order to receive an important information, tips, and skills they need to increase their quality of life, in return. Mobile apps, which record exercise, sleep and communication patterns, accumulate a lot of health related information as well. Using all this data, we can develop and bring to the market very personal services.
The involved enterprises wish to find common ground with other organisations.
Andres Mellik, the founder and CEO of Cognuse, a mental rehabilitation company, said: "Cognuse offers rehabilitation software, which helps doctors to assess and patients to develop their cognitive functions after a stroke or trauma. Our product offers a solution for one problem that certain patients have. But it could have much wider uses. In cooperation with businesses and health care establishments we get a better access to target groups and the resulting database will help us make our rehabilitation program more effective."
Priit Tampere, the Director of the Viljandi County Hospital, added that they too hope to benefit from closer cooperation. "We want to explain our needs and problems to the participating companies, so that the private sector can react and offer innovative services to hospitals. This, in turn, helps to increase the quality of the services we offer to our patients."
ECHC is made up of heath technology companies like Cognuse, LabtoWellness, Affecto, Asper Biotech, Icosagen, Kevels and technology companies like Eesti Telekom and Nortal. Tallinn University of Technology and the University of Tartu are also involved.
ECHC is part of the European Connected Health Alliance and ScanBalt network.