Uppsala University Hospital, Akademiska Sjukhuset, is not only one of the Stockholm – Uppsala regions largest employers; it is also one of the most established institutions of clinical excellence and research in Sweden. In collaboration with Uppsala BIO and ALMI Företagspartner, the University Hospital has initiated Innovation Akademiska, a pilot project in capturing innovations made by hospital staff.
Innovation Akademiska was introduced at the end of 2008. Now, one and a half year later, the project is widely implemented throughout the University Hospital. Innovations Coordinator Annilla Edeholm is currently visiting different departments of the hospital, on constant lookout for new ideas which may, if channelled through to the right contacts, be developed into patented products.
Annilla Edeholm is the mediator, so to speak. She is the link between the hospital and the life science industry, with influential contacts from all over the world. “The hospital workforce is a group of people who are also great innovators. The core aim of Innovation Akademiska is to capture the ideas and improvements embedded in the daily routines of the hospital. We have already applied for five patents, to protect unique innovations made by our own staff members”, Annilla explains.
State authority supports start-up
VINNOVA (The Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems) has granted 7.5 million SEK to support further development of Innovation Akademiska. “We are in the process of recruiting another member of staff with special focus on and connections with the life science industry. The idea is generally to invite life science companies to use our premises for product development and testing”.
Improving everyday practices
Annilla Edeholm is positive about the near future, and continues: “The large hospitals in this country are widely implementing the Japanese philosophy and concept of lean management. Our project is in many respects in accordance with lean thinking, improving the everyday routines of our hospital”.
Working in accordance with the lean philosophy is working more efficiently, but at the same time offering high quality. Edeholm stresses that innovations will be rewarded, “We are aiming to make modern healthcare even better by improving the everyday practices of our medical staff. Innovations are often used in everyday routines, but still go unnoticed. We want to change this and are therefore offering great opportunities for our innovators, a faster route from dream to reality”.