World's premier wireless hospital scheduled for launch by 2006 in Oulu, Finland

Oulu 04 May 2004Mobile phones and wireless networks are an international trend these days, because of their ability to ease the everyday lives of people. According to research studies, even the health care industry could benefit significantly from the use of wireless technology, as it could for instance improve the sector's internal processes and in that way also boost cost efficiency. Innokas Medical, which operates in Kempele located within the Oulu-region, is a key driver of a project, which develops and seeks to create a new marketing brand for a so-called "Wireless Hospital" concept.

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"Wireless technology will become a key element in several aspects of the health care business. With the help of new technologies, several processes within the industry could be made more flexible", stated Innokas Medical Oy's Chief Executive Officer, Jouni Ihme. "We have been in co-operation with large international companies within the medical technology industry, within a local research environment. The Wireless Hospital project is expected to reach its piloting stage during 2006", Jouni Ihme estimated.

The scheduled launching of the new concept given by Jouni Ihme may seem far ahead, but the hospital environment in which it operates is very demanding. When implementing wireless technologies into the hospital environment, there are several special requirements that need to be met, which create additional challenges for the development of new successful technologies. For instance, patient devices are in particularly sensitive toward disturbances and the accuracy of data transfer must also be taken into consideration. The industry is also heavily regulated by law, directives, and different standards, which do not, at the least, speed up the process of introducing new innovations, according to Jouni Ihme.

Even today people around the globe are introduced with products developed by Innokas Medical Oy, in hospitals, at doctor waiting rooms, and at physical therapists. Since 1994, the company has developed and manufactured health care industry products on a contract basis for international companies, including Instrumentarium Corporation.

The firm's product portfolio includes products such as electronically operated surgical knives and various types of devices used in electronic diagnostics. The company is expanding its business also toward own product design and marketing, with Innokas Marketing Oy handling the marketing of such products including those used by physical therapists for treatment and diagnosis.

A new product for the measurement of the impact of rehabilitation was introduced to the market in November 2003, and its reception has been very good. Currently the product is undergoing its commercialization phase, and its market has been expanded into Sweden, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and Holland, in addition to Finland. Although international expansion seems to be proceeding rather fast, the full commercialization procedure of the product will take time and plenty of resources, as Jouni Ihme stated.

The strength of Innokas Medical Oy, with its 40 staff, is the company's expertise in medical science, a fact that is also appreciated by the firm's customers. Last year the company's sales grew 50 percent and for this year the firm anticipates growth of around 30 percent. "Technology outsourcing has been rather rare in the medical business, making Innokas pioneers in the industry in that sense", Jouni Ihme added.

According to Jouni Ihme, the firm's location in Northern Finland's city of Oulu is not an obstacle for the firms future growth and success, but instead, it serves as a good example for other companies within the industry. "In practice we have noticed that Oulu is a very successful region for the development of technology for the health care industry. The region's existing network of leading industrial players, both in terms of development and clinical knowledge, is very flexible and offers various opportunities. There are no obstacles for expanding internationally from there and there is no reason why global firms would not want to expand their operations into the Oulu-region", Jouni Ihme concluded.


Leslie Versweyveld

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