| Category: Success stories

“We aim to be a flexible university hospital with a positive attitude towards companies.”

KUH offers companies an effective research and testing environment

Kuopio University Hospital, KUH, plays a key role in the Kuopio Health innovation ecosystem, as it provides companies with an opportunity to carry out clinical research and test their devices. 

– We aim to be a flexible university hospital with a positive attitude towards companies, says Johanna Jylhä-Ollila, corporate relations and innovation expert at KUH.

She points out that the cooperation benefits companies, the hospital’s 4,500 employees as well as the around 100,000 patients treated in the hospital each year. 

– Most of the commissioned studies carried out in the hospital involve cancer treatment. Thanks to these studies, patients are provided with cutting-edge treatment, which is also important from their viewpoint. At the same time, the professionals working at the hospital get to develop their competence. Engaging in clinical research alongside work provides them with the latest knowledge in the industry.

The research and other cooperation with companies also bring major financial advantages as the hospital gains access to the latest drugs and develops care and treatment. 

International research cooperation

The cooperation between KUH and companies can be divided into two parts: commissioned research and innovation activities.

The commissioned research may include clinical drug trials, data studies or medical device studies and testing. The partners range from small start-ups to major international companies.

KUH has partnership agreements with several international pharmaceutical companies. Roche is a company that aims to promote individualised healthcare and research and innovation in the health industry in Finland. 

– We find it important to partner with local operators to develop patients’ care paths and Finnish healthcare together. Our cooperation between KUH and the University of Eastern Finland has been both fruitful and international. It has allowed us to engage in close dialogue and invest in partnership projects. We believe that the cooperation brings benefits to everyone involved, but above all, it’ll benefit the local patients, explains Janne Heikkilä, Healthcare System Partner.

From innovations to products

Innovation activities will be an increasingly important part of KUH’s future operations. The hospital collects innovations and ideas for products and services from patients, professionals and companies, and aims to refine them into commercial products. 

There are plans for an electronic innovation platform used to search for and develop innovations that have emerged from research as well as from day-to-day experiences. The platform will allow patients, clinical professionals, researchers, students and companies to share their ideas and observations on how things could be done better. 

Jylhä-Ollila believes that the hospital will find most of its partners for developing the platform from the Kuopio Health network.

The service and product developed for arrhythmia detection by Heart2Save, a company from Kuopio, also emerged as an innovation made in everyday life and from cooperation.

Helena Jäntti, Deputy Chief Physician of HEMS and CEO of Heart2Save, reminds us that the road from an innovation stemming from everyday life to a commercial product is long, especially when it comes to medical devices. 

– KUH’s input as an innovation platform occurs most naturally through offering clinical validation expertise and access to patient data. In the optimal case, we’ll be able to join academic pursuits related to new research publications and corporate goals related to obtaining evidence on the functionality of a product. 

Networking promotes visibility

KUH is one of the founding members of Kuopio Health. Johanna Jylhä-Ollila finds networking and research cooperation crucial for the vitality and visibility of the region. 

– We are a significant contributor to research and education, both at the national as well as international levels. I believe that we’ll also be able to promote our international visibility through Kuopio Health.


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