IT companies see big profits in Obamacare

It may be the subject of great debate in the US, but healthcare reform could be a golden opportunity for Danish companies

The phasing in of US President Barack Obama's healthcare reform could be a boon to Denmark and Danish companies. As the home of several companies at the forefront of the online healthcare business, Danish IT health exports could be a big winner.

Denmark is a leader in telemedicine solutions – also know as health IT – where patients use web-based products to monitor their health at home, saving on trips to the doctor and state resources.

"The timing in the US is pretty good,” Hans Henriksen, the head of Healthcare Denmark, told Børsen financial daily. “In about five years, the US healthcare system will be looking for the kind of telemedicine solutions that are being rolled out on a large scale in Denmark right now, positioning us to be one of the strongest countries in the US market.”

Healthcare Denmark is a consortium of several Danish regions, the Health Ministry, the Business Ministry, the Foreign Ministry and several health-based IT companies.

“This is a billion kroner market that would bring in money and jobs,” said Henriksen, adding that there are already ten to 20 Danish products that could be successful in the US.

Paging Dr iPad
One such product is the Telecare Nord project being rolled out in northern Jutland, which allows some heart patients who have been supplied a home kit to monitor their oxygen intake, heart rate and blood pressure, enter the measurements on an iPad and send the results to their local physician, thus avoiding a visit to the doctor.

“It is an incredible opportunity for us to be the ones helping to introduce the next generation of health technology to the United States,” Henrik Ibsen, head of Silverbullet, the company that developed the platform for the Telecare Nord project, told Børsen.  “We have made initial contact with a US supplier, and if we manage to get into the market, we could see double-digit growth in the next ten to 15 years.”

Welfare Denmark is another company with an eye toward the US. They market a physical rehabilitation programme based on Microsoft's Kinect technology.

“We are damned talented in Denmark, but we are not so good at marketing ourselves,” Ulrik Noell, the head of Welfare Denmark, told Børsen. “But we have unique resources in an area worth billions.”

Noell said that he has already been to the US and the market is there.

“There will be jobs opening up,” he said. “We will need programmers, service, support, sales – there is huge potential.”