Accepted Paper:

Nordic strategies to harness the "goldmine" of population data  


Heta Tarkkala (University of Helsinki)
Karoliina Snell (University of Helsinki)

Paper short abstract:

Biobanks and data repositories of Nordic countries have been identified as "goldmines" for personalized medicine. Population data is seen to enable economic growth, better health and sustaining of welfare services. We analyse and compare Nordic strategies and visions of goldmining population data.

Paper long abstract:

The biobanks and data repositories of Nordic welfare states have been identified as "goldmines" for the development of personalized medicine. It is expected that the individual Nordic countries as well as the whole region could offer unique health and welfare data that attracts international investments and paves way for these countries to be world-leaders in biomedicine. Harnessing the potential of data is seen as the essential precondition for both economic growth, sustaining of welfare services and improvement of personal and population health. Long history of systematic register keeping in the Nordic countries, unique population and personal identification number that enables easy combination of data are seen as distinctive assets in each Nordic country. New infrastructures and strategic visions are being implemented to further the collection, integration and use of data.

We investigate this necessity of the Nordic countries to become forerunners in biomedicine through health and welfare data by analysing the strategies, policies and visions of individual Nordic countries and their common cooperative organisations. We examine different values placed on the genetic heritage of population and population data by addressing dimensions such as uniformity and diversity, global and national, or cooperation and competition. While the countries develop competing strategies and brand the usefulness of their population data in different ways, they simultaneously cooperate and strive towards increased co-operation on data use. Even more importantly, the cooperation is expected to increase international attractiveness of the whole region as the data mass multiplies with Nordic cooperation.

Panel C26
Precision medicine at the crossroads: meeting the micro and macro, the molecular and social in new medical strategies