SuomiHealth's CEO Suvi Sillanpää and COO Norma Välimaa
SuomiHealth - opening doors to medical tourism
Observers have long predicted that the medical tourism industry in Finland is set for significant growth. So far however, no one has thought to roll up their sleeves and make the most of this first rate opportunity.
Unless you exclude SuomiHealth, first set up in Aaltoes Team Up event at Startup Sauna in Otaniemi.
“We started developing this idea in Team Up and realised pretty much straightaway what an amazing opportunity this is. So far, the response has been positive because the demand for this kind of service has existed for quite a while. What we are doing obviously offers genuine social benefits and progress has been easy,” SuomiHealth CEO Suvi Sillanpää explains.
The SuomiHealth team are participants in Kiuas Incubator programme that offered them invaluable support during the initial stages of setting up their business.
“We were particularly drawn to the energy and excitement that you get from doing things collaboratively and really appreciated the excellent team of mentors and the great PR opportunities as well as the financial support. Things took off very quickly for us and, in the end, we weren’t able to attend all the events. Even then, I would say that the concept really is fantastic, and the programme was obviously invaluable to the teams that perhaps initially didn’t quite have the same level experience or the contacts as we did.”
The SuomiHealth team currently comprises four members. Together they are the perfect blend of medical expertise, Chinese market knowledge and IT prowess.
SuomiHealth plans to target Chinese medical tourists in particular, as Chinese visitors spend more on tourism than any other nationality. The Chinese are also highly health and quality conscious and the SuomiHealth team believe Finland’s private healthcare sector is well set up to cater to their expectations.
“The Chinese medical tourism industry is booming. Globally, the market is valued at EUR 100 billion. The Chinese spend is at EUR 10 billion and growing,” explains Norma Välimaa, SuomiHealth’s COO.
SuomiHealth offers Chinese medical tourists a full package of services, including health services, accommodation, interpreters and transfers. They also work together with a number of local visitor services providers to ensure that any family the patients are travelling with are also well looked after during their stay.
“We will be looking after our customers during their entire visit to Finland. They will be accompanied by an English, Finnish and Chinese speaking Care Manager at all times and can also make use of our own digital platform. Our first customers will be arriving at the end of 2017. So far, the reception in China has been incredibly positive. We will be joined by a number of travel agents, insurance providers, private hospitals and doctors’ online forums that all specialise in medical tourism,” Sillanpää concludes.