In this episode of Digital Health Today, we are jumping over to the country of Estonia, a country of 1.3 million people situated on the Baltic Sea. Estonia borders Latvia and Russia, and is across the water from its Nordic neighbor, Finland. Here to talk to us today is Ain Aaviksoo, he’s the Deputy Secretary General of E-services and Innovation, at the Ministry of Social Affairs, Estonia. He tells us about Estonian business culture, their outstanding infrastructure, and the opportunities for outside companies and individuals to do research and business in Estonia.

Estonian companies have transformed our experience with telephony with Skype, and banking with Transferwise, and they have their sights set on transforming the way people experience health and wellness as well.

In his role as the Deputy Secretary General of E-services and Innovation, Ain works to combine medicine and informatics to disrupt healthcare in a great way. Estonia has a long history of digital innovation across public and private services. They’ve successfully migrated traditional “brick and mortar” activities to online, and they’ve implemented things like electronic voting and even an electronic residency program that is open to anyone around the world. Ain and I spoke about the various services and programs available in Estonia, and how they are positioned to help individuals and companies who would like to leverage the infrastructure they have in place.

Today's Topics

  • How Estonia emerged from the Soviet Union as a technology powerhouse
  • The “e-Estonia Model” and the advantages it provides to private and public organizations in Estonia
  • How the Estonian Genome Center is making personalized medicine accessible for research and companies
  • The role of the Estonian President as he takes on the six-month rotation of the EU Presidency
  • The startup culture of Estonia
  • The Estonian ‘e-residency' program that is open to anyone to set up a EU business and ‘electronic residency'
  • The three legal pillars to create a secure environment for secure data sharing

Lightning Round Answers

Q: What’s a favorite quote or saying that motivates you?

A: “The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.” ~Michael Porter

Q: What advice do you have for other innovators who are working to make a difference in health?

A: Look at the needs and desires of people

Q: What book do you recommend to listeners and why?

A:The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood  by James Gleick

Q: What technology, tool or app would you recommend, and why?

A: Google with the power of the internet

Q: If I gave you $5million to invest in healthcare today, where would you invest it?

A: Augmented Intelligence (AI) to create a citizen data cooperative, and provide the tools to give better information to get personalized care and packing it as a platform.

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Dan Kendall
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Kendall studied engineering and found his passion in building businesses. His career in sales, marketing and product development has spanned two continents, and he works with clients around the world to overcome barriers and solve healthcare’s problems. Feel free to message him here and follow him on Twitter.


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