Experiencing a healthcare process is one of the most universal human life events. That is true for almost every person and among any community in the world.
With a well-established tradition around the development of a universal health coverage, Europe comprises different countries that have been implementing that broad concept in several ways, usually with some form of government action aimed at extending the access to healthcare as widely as possible, while setting minimum standards and regulations about privacy of the data resulting from sanitary procedures.
Now, the digital transformation that is seizing the opportunities within and through all the different European industries, is also transforming the health business and revolutionize the aforementioned “healthcare experience”, with the aim to improve the citizens’ well-being by different means: the ICT technologies appear as the most logical instrument at hand in order to make life-saving information easily available, to measure and raise the quality and accessibility of the health services and to make the most innovative tools more effective, more user-friendly and widely accepted.
That would be the disruptive vision around eHealth advancement. A conception that should coexist with a more traditional sight and with the consistent need to be extremely thorough whenever dealing with sensible personal data. The obligation to implement the ICT advancements following national and continental privacy laws emphasizes the need for a better cyber-security as an integral part for the present and future of the sector.
Within this context, the aim of the Future Internet CHallenge eHealth, the FICHe accelerator, has been to challenge top European startups to create the new digital applications and comprehensive solutions that eHealth market is demanding.
To achieve that goal, FICHe has been offering training, technical and financial support and a real field experience, working with European SMEs and start-ups and pushing them to develop innovative applications and business models for the global eHealth market, building the solutions upon the FIWARE technology. During the recently ended two-year program, FICHe accelerator boosted 20 innovative eHealth startups into the European market.
“FICHe consortium has accelerated the overall process, planning and fostering the visibility of both products and companies”, according with Satu Väinämö, FICHe Project Coordinator. The added value that FIWARE provides comes from the technology but also from the active community that supports and maintains it. As Jordina Arcal, from FICHe finalist HealthApp puts it: "it was a real incubation process…everyone helping each other."
With the support of FICHe, the 20 finalists SMEs and startups created 150 new jobs, got their first customers, established new partnerships and raised extra public and private funding, that was added to the FICHe program seed funding, which allowed the startups to set off the ground.
For a startup aiming to get access to the international markets, testing and validating its solution in a living lab is a must. That has been the specific and differential final step that has been key to complete the acceleration process under the FICHe mentorship.
At this moment the acceleration process has finished, but the consortium partners – University of Oulu, Business Oulu, TIC BioMed, FFIS de la region de Murcia, TNO, Amsterdam Economic Board, Stichting zorgInc., Dutch eHealth Fund Management BV and Stichting Digitalezorg.nl– will continue the mentorship, the management of the the Living Labs and the creation of a systematic process that will keep supporting the SMEs and startups, unfolding their business potential beyond the borders of their countries and achieving funding and clients in Europe and beyond.
It’s now time to share the story of FICHe, review the acceleration process with the startups and get a glimpse of their experience and of the solutions that they have developed, which are now entering or are already into of a global growing market.
Also, let’s meet the passionate entrepreneurs and developers and ask them why they have choose eHealth, what does the value proposition of FIWARE for this vertical comprises and which is the reason why four –out of fifteen– companies selected to be part of the FIWARE VIP Programme are working within the eHealth sector.
This is our story, which is yours?