Scale-Up Denmark Healthcare

Three main trends in health tech

By Jón Ingis
Business Accelerator & Investment Manager Accelerace

Implementing new technologies and ideas into new products has always been widely used in the health tech industry.

Over the past 2-3 years this has escalated. Technologies from other industries have, to even bigger extent, been incorporated into new devices – and this goes for product development as well as for testing and production.

As an example, the challenges of early stage prototyping and testing by making molds for every prototype, a time consuming and often costly process, have now been replaced by 3D printing often in-house. Several prototypes can be made in a day resulting in a much shorter, cheaper, and more productive process.

The use of algorithms, AI, and big data has also entered the health tech market. This can be seen both in the near patient and private use as well as in the higher level hospital settings.

Companies are developing and selling decision support systems that, as the name indicates, help the personal in making clinical decisions. This can be in evaluating the effect of stroke on the brain cells, sometimes a life-saving decisions, or help orthopedic surgeons and radiographs in the decision making around knee replacement, as one of the Scale Up Denmark projects Radiobotics is working on.

To be able to do this, the companies need to have access to big amounts of data enabling them to train their algorithms (AI) in giving the right recommendations. This is facilitating cooperation with hospitals, universities and big medical device and/or pharmaceutical companies where this kind of data is available.

This summarizes the three of the main trends seen in today´s healthtech market i.e.:

  • Use of big data in developing AI
  • Personalized treatment through AI
  • Closer cooperation between startups and bigger companies and hospitals

Many of the companies Accelerace is working with, as part of the Scale-Up Denmark program, are following those trends in their product development.

Among them are PreCure, which is working towards reduction and ultimately prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders, starting with tennis elbow.

PreCure are developing wearable devices which measures muscle activity. Advanced algorithms based on machine learning process these measurements, providing warnings to the user if the activity has been assessed as potentially harmful. The users are then trained to change their behaviour before any injuries occur or existing injuries are exacerbated, and by that preventing injuries and optimizing rehabilitation, reducing the costs associated with loss of production and chronic treatment of injuries.

Another great example is Particle3D. The Danish company is developing a technology to 3D print bone scaffold (implant) for treating patients with craniofacial bone loss often caused by trauma or cancer resection.

The scaffolds are printed and made by proprietary 3D printable ink which is based on the same material as in normal bone i.e. natural components in our bodies.

Those scaffolds are custom made, based on pictures from the patients CT or MR scans, and form living tissues upon implantation which means that after some time one can´t distinguish between implanted and original bone.

Those two projects, that are both working with new but completely different technologies, illustrate clearly how the latest technologies are used in modern day healthtech environment.

Both in new ways of producing “traditional” medical devices, in this case bone implants and also in using latest development in sensor technologies and software in preventing a common illness.

Both affecting millions of people in their daily life.

>> Read the article on last years participant in Health Care