Nordic Innovations Showcase

Promoting Nordic-Canada innovation

Nordic showcase

Innovation is thriving at West Park, illustrated recently by the gathering of innovators from five different Nordic countries at West Park Healthcare Centre.

Innovators from Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Iceland and Finland converged on West Park April 3 at the Nordic-Canada Health Solutions Initiative event to “pitch” their innovations to West Park clinicians and patients.

Using a fast-paced, rapid-fire format, representatives from 16 Nordic companies provided 1-minute summaries on everything from wound care bandages made from North Atlantic Cod to cloud-based platforms for Diabetes Management. The presentations were followed by questions from attendees.

Have you heard these ideas?

Who says you have to go to the Clouds for innovative ways to revolutionize healthcare? Here’s three examples of the innovative ideas pitched at the recent Nordic-Canada Health Solutions Initiative – Innovator Pitches Session held in the Enbridge Auditorium.

Kerecis, a company from Iceland, has cornered the market on Omega3 Wound Bandages, or fish skin. Using wild North Atlantic Cod, Kerecis has been using thoroughly sanitized fish skin – no fishy smell or scales – to treat burns, extensive wounds, bed sores, and diabetic ulcers.

Norway company EFP Nordic has taken a simple idea of a smoke and heat sensor placed above the stove along with a power shut off placed behind the stove, with signals that will cut power to the appliance if it is left on. This will significantly reduce safety concerns of stove fires with patients living at home with dementia and other neurological diseases or brain injuries.

Northern Sports Insight & Intelligence, an innovative company from Finland, has gone a little more high tech and created a sensor to measure and analyze brain injuries. The small, flexible sensor is worn on the head or under a helmet, and will record the impact and corresponding data of a hit to the wearer’s head.

West Park V.P. Strategy, Innovation and CIO Jan Walker says the rapid-fire format was very productive.

“We’ve learned what we need to know in a pitch,” Walker says. “It’s easier for us to determine if an innovation is aligned with our clinical needs.”

The “pitch” experience Walker talks about comes from her recent trips to Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark, when other Nordic innovators pitched to West Park on their turf.

The Nordic-Canada Health Solutions Initiative event was partially organized and funded by Innovation Norway.

“Being able to speak to clinicians and hospital leadership in their surroundings offers innovators a great opportunity for dialogue about their specific needs,” says Innovation Norway Market Manager Lori Woloshyn.

Attendees at the Nordic-Canada Health Solutions Initiative event also had the opportunity to formally present “Challenge Statements” to the innovators to consider, further enhancing the dialogue at the event.

Finally, the event finished with a meet and greet, enabling all participants to delve further into the innovations and the needs at West Park and other organizations in attendance.

How does West Park benefit from these types of initiatives? In remarkable ways.

West Park is involved in 11 innovation projects with 22 partners providing $3.4 million in funding. Partnering with more innovators helps fulfill our innovation strategy.

West Park Healthcare Centre is creating a new niche in healthcare innovation in the post-acute space, by harnessing our entrepreneurial spirit with cutting edge technology and our reputation for nurturing care that gives patients their lives back.

Our approach is to define healthcare priorities that drive the right innovations, to the right patient population that can have direct and beneficial applications.

By being nimble in our approach to innovation, West Park is able to help private sector partners dramatically slash the timeline from concept to pilot testing.

This is an approach to innovation that is unburdened from bureaucracy, while leveraging new ideas and input from frontline healthcare workers.

“We can fast track ideas in real-time through to developing a technological solution in as little as nine months,” Walker says. “Our goal is to create wider community impact that helps people get their lives back.”