Antipodes? Not quite so: The new coalition of Nordics and Latin America for improved healthcare

Posted on: 19.03.2018
People from different countries around a meeting table

At HIMSS18 in Las Vegas in the past month, organisations, entrepreneurs and dedicated healthcare professionals from all over the world came together to leverage and aim for better health delivery for their citizens. There was a great deal of fantastic innovation showcases presented and now it is time to pass the “torch” to us across the pond at HIMSS Europe 2018.

The message “Where the World connects for health” is a clear call to us all to be part of the world’s largest healthcare ecosystem, which will soon reconvene in the old continent, at the HIMSS Europe & Health 2.0 Conference. “Connect” is the key concept of this initiative, as we can accomplish so much more through collaboration, innovation and education. In this sense, I find it especially encouraging to see collaboration between different parts of the world that are at different stages when it comes to digital solutions for healthcare.

A personal perspective of a Swedish/Latin American HIT woman

As a Swedish/Latin American woman in HIT, mental health professional and entrepreneur, not only has cross border collaboration played an important role in my professional journey but also highlighted the importance of interacting with people across the healthcare chain from various parts of the world, sharing not only their success stories but also challenges and how these are met.

I am very pleased and excited to have come across a notable amount of interesting teamwork in the Nordic region with the emerging markets in Latin America. Sweden has set its vision to become the world leader in eHealth by 2025. Not only growing up and living in Sweden for a large part of my life but also actively working in the field of eHealth, it excites me and makes me proud to see the current high quality and established healthcare system and that learnings are being actively shared with other parts of the world, and in particular with Latin America.

Nordics and Latin America

As noted by Global Health Intelligence, Latin America has been behind other nations and especially the Nordics when it comes to adopting components of data but is catching up quickly. Multiple Latin American countries have national electronic medical records, as an example with Chile leading with a rate of 73% adoption of EMRs in its hospitals. So, the ambition is to improve rapidly this area, and it’s interesting to see some good examples in which Nordic entities have engaged with stakeholders from the Latin American region.[1]

SWECARE, as an example, has “eHealth by Sweden”[2], an initiative for presenting eHealth solutions from Sweden and a new concept for internationalization efforts. If you want to learn more about this, please visit their website. SWECARE arranged a session last month together with the Mexican embassy, which with its population of 120 million and 14% investment level of GDP into healthcare is a very interesting and lucrative market, where win-win cooperation can be surely envisioned.

Another interesting example is the initiative launched by BusinessFinland, which hosted a Latin America Health Day in February where Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Peru were on the agenda and some interesting discussions were held. It is apparent that there is a lot of potential for Nordic health companies to do business in Latin America. One example is a Mexican company interested in developing a Virtual Hospital at Home project together with a Finnish company. If you want to read more about the detailed discussions, please visit their website.[3]

The HIMSS Europe & Health 2.0 Conference will be a great opportunity to explore the potential opportunities of developing global partnerships. I am confident that you will find the conference to be a great place to come together and share the joint vision of delivering better care. I hope to see you in Sitges 27-29 May.


Maria Marenco

Independent Health Informatics Consultant, Sweden/UK/Malta