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Chinese medicine meets Finnish health care technology

China attracts interest all over the world. Finns are now exporting their health care expertise to China. A Chinese-Finnish collaboration, the Healthy China project is about the prevention of lifestyle diseases such as adult onset diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Lifestyle diseases have become more common in China with the westernisation of diet and increased prevalence of sit-down work.

"The idea behind the Healthy China project is to bring Finnish and Chinese expertise and technologies together," says technology expert Jaani Heinonen, Chief Representative of Tekes Shanghai. The Finnish coordinators of the project are Tekes and Finpro, and the Chinese partners are Shanghai’s Huashan Hospital, Hudan University and key public authorities.

Healthy China has been underway for a year and a half. "So far we have mainly been assessing Chinese care models and searching for key actors for the project," says Heinonen.

A future objective is to establish a Finnish-Chinese Centre at the Key Lab of Health Technology of Huashan Hospital. The Centre would be supported by a disease management programme providing an up-to-date overview of the patient’s status. Information technologies specialising in diagnosis, monitoring and risk management could then be incorporated into it – with the EBM Guidelines as a prime example. The Centre would offer a variety of services including foot examinations in diabetic patients, physiotherapy and advice related to physical activity and diet.

"Our ultimate aim is to find a comprehensive business model that enables us to expand the pilot project to other sectors," says Heinonen. Project plans currently reach 2008, the year in which expansion is planned.

Chinese medicine and Finnish technology

"Finnish health care know-how and tools are unique even on a global scale," says Heinonen. "There’s a lot of research, and organisations such as the National Public Health Institute and the Finnish Heart Association have done groundbreaking work in disease prevention and health promotion.”

Finland also has many businesses that have developed products related to issues such as health monitoring and disease prevention. Finns have also excelled in functional foods. Says Heinonen, "Integrating traditional Chinese medicine with Finnish technologies is a fascinating new area."

Eeva Ahola | alfa
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