Last week I met another member of our advisory board, Tom Ståhlberg. He started our chat by saying: “First the whole idea for SHIFT sounded a bit crazy to me. Why would you want to bring together the fields of health, learning and energy, when they have nothing in common? But after a while it made sense”.

“To generate the best companies on health technology we need good education and constant learning to have professionals from different levels, not just the top university researchers but also experts from vocational school and polytechnic. And I suppose the same applies on energy sector. In technologies of health and energy you can see solutions that feel like science fiction. To get more revolutionary solutions you do need new angles to learning and education. That’s why I find SHIFT important.”

Ståhlberg works with health technology companies. He is the director of Regulatory Affairs and Compliance at the Finnish Health Technology Association (FiHTA). The purpose of FiHTA is to represent the growing Finnish health technology sector and monitor the common interests of its member companies in order to improve their business environment. Despite the economic recession in Finland, the health tech companies have managed well. In fact the field is one of the few growing export sectors in Finland. “Still we could learn more about international marketing and regulations related to health technology. The regulations are very strict and they vary from country to another. It is very simple: if you don’t know the requirements by heart, you don’t get a deal. In FiHTA we improve the business environment and teach the needed skills to our customer companies”, Ståhlberg continues.

So what are the news on health tech? “To me the best innovations and companies are those who understand the holistic approach to health care. It is not just about who has the greatest gadget but who understands the best the needs of nursing staff, patients and their relatives – the whole chain of health care. To grasp it you need to collaborate with professionals from different sectors. You need to bring people together to discuss, just like SHIFT is doing.”

The healthcare sector is under a lot of discussion of how it should be and where the limited resources should be allocated. Ståhlberg states: “When looking for improvements it is difficult to alter the existing healthcare system as radically as may be needed. Nevertheless we can still imagine and make scenarios how we would set up the healthcare system if we wouldn’t have existing boundaries. Perhaps from those scenarios we could take a few targets and move towards them, even if it was slowly. I’m confident that one of the small and agile countries are going to lead the way. Technology offers many solutions to use existing resources wisely. For example the Nordics have invested in telemedicine due to long, and in some cases difficult, distances between health centre and patients. Telemedicine is also suitable for busy citizens and families with small children.”

“I am appealed to the opposites in SHIFT: the medieval castle and the latest technology. I do wish to see some great startups there. I also would like to challenge Marika Kase from PerkinElmer, Wallac Oy to attend SHIFT Business Festival.”

Thank you Tom for the interview! I would like say to Marika Kase and all you other professionals out there, better get your tickets soon !