‘Gothenburg is a hotbed for innovation’
Two years ago, the US-headquartered company Cerner established offices in Gothenburg to create a market for its e-health solutions. They leverage data from several different sources and provide digital solutions that simplify matters for patients while optimising health services. These include, for example, shared digital medical record systems, prognosis tools and patient-friendly apps.
"We want to change health care. Medical errors are one of the foremost causes of death in health care, and we want to do everything we can to reduce this risk by giving doctors and nurses the right tools," says Steven Gallagher, Vice President Business Development & Political Affairs Europe at Cerner.
The Swedish government's vision for e-health is that by 2025 Sweden shall be the world leader in digitised health care and e-health solutions.
"I usually make a comparison with banks. Today, you can check your financial status and do all your banking on a smartphone. If the health services open up their systems, everyone can gain access to information about their health and care in the same way," says Mr Gallagher.
Globally and locally
Cerner operates in 40 countries and has over 24,000 employees.
"We're global and local. When it comes to health care and technology, you have to be familiar with each country's regulations and frameworks. You can't, for example, simply turn up with the same approach that you use in the USA. That's why we invest locally and employ local expertise," says Mr Gallagher.
The decision to establish operations in Sweden and Gothenburg was easy – conditions are optimal here, and that's the general opinion of many American companies in the industry, according to Mr Gallagher.
"I've discussed this with many colleagues and they all agree. Sweden is a sophisticated society with high computer literacy, which means that both patients and personnel can readily adopt our tools. And Gothenburg is a hotbed for innovation. It's easy for innovative companies to operate here thanks to forward-thinking decision makers. There's also a highly qualified workforce, other multinational companies on hand and good transportation. Most people speak English, you're part of the EU … yes, there are many very good reasons."
Innovation is one of the cornerstones of Cerner's philosophy. The company has invested over 4.9 billion dollars in research and development and features in Forbes' list of the world's most innovative companies. It's not only about developing proprietary solutions, but also encouraging and creating the conditions for innovation locally and helping create a thriving ecosystem for startups and other small and medium-sized enterprises.
"We have a platform that we call our technical sandbox, a playground on the internet where startups can develop apps and test different tools. In this way, we can assist these companies and work together with them in the spirit of true Swedish teamwork," says Mr Gallagher.
What's more, Cerner is involved in promoting innovation in digital health with an award that will be presented at the Vitalis e-health conference at the end of April.
"There are so many smart people and good ideas in Sweden. We want to help ensure that they get the attention they deserve."
Fact box Cerner
Employees: 24,000 in 40 countries. In Sweden, the company has about 70 employees at offices in Stockholm and Gothenburg. A number of major tenders currently under way may affect the growth rate.
Headquarters: Kansas City, Missouri.
History: Founded in 1979 with the aim of creating software that could coordinate health information instead of each health care facility storing its data separately. Cerner's philosophy that the information ought to be organised with a focus on the patient, not the health care provider, provides the foundation for the e-health solutions the company has developed.
Offers: Electronic medical record systems, prognosis tools that predict a population's health challenges and in this way aid resource and health care planning.
Established in Gothenburg: Acquired Siemens' operations in Sweden a little more than two years ago, taking over customers, personnel and offices. Recently moved to new offices at Lilla Bommen in Gothenburg, with the official inauguration set for 23 May.
On Business Region Göteborg: "Business Region Göteborg understands what moving to Gothenburg entails for an international company. They can simplify the process and all relationships on so many levels via their inroads into the business community, health services and society in general. I'm impressed."