Finnish invention brings health-care services millions of euros in savings
The Turku-based company TeleChemistry has developed a new laboratory analyser that allows the most common laboratory samples to be analysed without delay after the sample is taken. The test results are ready in less than thirty minutes. The invention reduces the number of visits to the doctor and eliminates the need for samples to be forwarded for analysis. This translates into savings of millions of euros for patients and society. Approximately 60 million laboratory tests are conducted in Finland each year, around half of which can, in future, be analysed on the spot at medical consultation.
TeleChemistry's new laboratory analyser, which uses Liquid Micro Processor and laser technology, is based on a patented invention by Doctor Niilo Kaartinen, who hails from the town of Kaarina, near Turku.
"Thanks to this device, nearly half of current laboratory tests can be carried out without delay at the medical facility where the sample is taken. The device produces highly accurate results for 20 of the most common laboratory tests," explains TeleChemistry's Managing Director, Jan Østrup.
"The analyser speeds up and facilitates the work of doctors, as the test results can be used right away to make a diagnosis. For patients, it eliminates unnecessary contact with or visits to health-care centres, and medical treatment can be started sooner. As a result, patients are also less likely to take unnecessary medications," Østrup stresses.
Managing Director Jan Østrup and Marketing Director Rasmus Hautala presented new invention in Turku on Tuesday.
Laboratory results that are swiftly available support doctors' diagnoses. This frees up their appointment schedules, which, in turn, helps to relieve the shortage of doctors in the public health-care system. At the same time, the likelihood that samples will get mixed up is reduced, since testing is carried out at the time the sample is taken.
Major savings in travel expenses compensation by the Social Insurance Institution (Kela)
Currently, most laboratory samples are analysed centrally in units where the quality is high, but it takes from several hours to days to get the results. The samples are transported up to hundreds of kilometres, thereby increasing costs both for society and patients.
"In future, central laboratories will be able to focus more on analysing difficult tests, and basic tests will be carried out right when the samples are taken. By our estimates, this would result in annual savings of several million euros in travel compensation expenses for Kela's patients," reckons Østrup.
"This new invention offers an opportunity to re-examine the processes and structures of health care in Finland. Patients, doctors and society all benefit from fast and local laboratory services," states Østrup.
Analyser based on patented inventions
The TeleChemistry's device is based on several of Doctor Kaartinen's inventions, the earliest of which date back to the 1970s. These inventions enable automatic and high-quality liquid processing with very small volumes of liquid. It has only been possible to realise an analyser for use in smaller health-care units once TeleChemistry developed solutions suitable for series production to exploit the patents. The solutions are based on innovative Liquid Micro Processor and laser technologies.
"The analyser produces results that are just as precise as those produced by the analysers used in big units. The quality of the sample remains very good, since it does not have to be transported. Blood samples, for example, begin to degrade immediately after they are taken," explains Doctor Kaartinen.
Doctor Niilo Kaartinen is the founder of TeleChemistry company.
Turku a hub of medical and diagnostics know-how
More than half of all medical and diagnostics know-how in Finland is concentrated in Turku. Extensive efforts to expand the business sector have been made in Turku Science Park and, since 2007, via the HealthBIO cluster.
The goal is to begin production of TeleChemistry's device in co-operation with other diagnostics companies and subcontractors in the Turku area. Production of the analyser will begin in year 2013.
"TeleChemistry's development work is precisely the kind of work that the HealthBIO cluster, part of the government's Centre of Expertise Programme, strives to promote in the Turku area. Among the most important goals of the cluster and the companies involved is to expand both the sector's business in the area and co-operation between the various companies," says Tero Piispanen, Programme Director of the HealthBIO cluster.
For more information, please contact:
Managing Director Jan Østrup, tel. +358 20 7792853
The TeleChemistry's laboratory analyser can be used to carry out 20 of the most common clinical chemistry analyses, such as CRP (C-reactive protein), important for determining an infection, ALAT (alanine aminotransferase), which determines liver function, CHO (cholesterol) and TG (triglycerides), which indicate fatty acid metabolism; and it can be used to measure glucose, calcium, creatine, iron, sodium, potassium and haemoglobin levels in the blood.
Niilo Kaartinen is a Medical Doctor and a leading expert in microfluidics. He is the main developer behind the analyser, and has conducted years of research on his patented liquid microprocessing methods. The device automates testing such that quality is verified automatically and controlled via a data network. The method is internationally patented.
TeleChemistry is a Turku-based company founded in 2007 that focuses on the development of clinical chemistry analyser solutions. The company's operations are based on the patented inventions of Doctor Niilo Kaartinen. The company employs 17 industry professionals. www.telechemistry.com.