«Finding the right door in the hospital system can be a great challenge for entrepreneurs who want to realize a product idea,» says Sveinung Tornås, head of the department for Innovation, technology and e-health at Sunnaas hospital.
«There are many, many doors to knock on. It can take a long time and cost a lot of money for an entrepreneur who is not known in these networks,» says Tornås.
Nordic Proof aims to simplify the journey from a good idea to a realized and verified product. Since Nordic Proof is a partnership between leading hospitals and organizations in Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway, business actors can gain access to a wide range of test capabilities for the medical device product they develop.
«We assist companies so that they can test and verify product concepts on patients much faster, and we can set up forums where we can discuss solutions with professionals and health workers,» Tornås says.
Sunnaas hospital is one of eight partners in the Nordic Proof consortium. The health technology cluster Norway Health Tech is the coordinator for Nordic Proof, which in turn is part-financed by Nordic Innovation.
Some of the entrepreneurs and companies that come to Nordic Proof only have a concept in the idea stage, while others have come further and may have a fully developed prototype or want testing of a finished product. Everyone is welcome, but it is a great advantage if the idea is past the very earliest stage of development.
«Depending on what stage you are in the development of an idea, our consortium can assist with everything from workshops with clinical experts to discuss further development, or we can look at the possibility of helping with clinical studies,» says Tornås.
The hospitals and health services depend on innovation from the business community to be able to provide good services to patients in the future. There is a lot of exciting developments happening in robotics, artificial intelligence and other innovation that the health sector can benefit greatly from. In the extreme, this can be about innovation that can save lives.
«Many products and solutions used in the hospital today are the result of an interaction between those who provide health services and entrepreneurs and companies that have ideas for new solutions,» says Tornås. Precisely this was a part of the backdrop for Nordic Proof, to create an effective arena where this interaction is put into a system to stimulate the development of new solutions within health.
At the same time, it is a challenge on the part of the hospital to find out how to rig the organization in a way that can effectively receive these inquiries. There is a great deal of discussion in the hospital community about how to create arenas where the business community can come in and discuss, test and verify solutions together with relevant professionals. And this is where Nordic Proof comes up with a solution. «The most important motivation here, I think, is that we help to shorten the time it takes before a product can benefit patients and health workers,» Tornås adds.
«After all, these are solutions that can improve lives.»