Pikkarainen Group

The research of Connected Health addresses innovations for data-intensive service business through better decision support systems and preventive & personalized healthcare. 

Connected health research within MIPT (Medical Imaging Physics and Technologies) is conducted in an interdisciplinary manner as a close collaboration between Oulu Business School (Martti Ahtisaari Institute) (https://www.mai.fi/en) and VTT, Technical Research Centre of Finland (https://www.vttresearch.com/en). 

The goal of the Connected Health teams is to co-create and validate adaptive interventions that:

  1. Improve differential diagnosis, triaging, and management of orthopedic and cerebrovascular conditions 
  2. Co-create a mobile solution that improves orthopedic and  stroke care and cerebrovascular disorders risk diagnostics for risk patients using data from Finland, Singapore, and Chinese hospitals and clarify the business model for the solution in each target market
  3. Develop advanced AI and machine learning algorithms for prevention e.g. in Stroke cases. 
  4. Validate the feasibility of the solutions of combining heterogeneous data with AI and machine learning approaches in decision-support solutions for diagnosis, triaging, and management of stroke disorders. 
  5. To show the effectiveness of the interventions by evaluating the intervention components separately and together in a series of randomized controlled trials. The collaboration also supports Finnish companies' access to the international market and helps them speed up the export of co-created adaptive interventions. 

Societal impact already achieved

As a result of the research, we have already co-created intelligent and coherent patient-centric solutions for orthopedic surgery journey (icorysolution.com). The created surgery service solutions are targeted to assure improved care experience, coherent communication, and data usage between patients, caretakers, and care personnel. The solutions have been co-created to be user-friendly by using novel gamification approaches.  Furthermore, the Icory solutions improve pain measurement that works as a baseline e.g. for medication and home discharge and offers integrated patient feedback system that works as a baseline for further innovation development and rationalization of care personnel work processes using the different data collected as part of the innovative, personalized digital services. 
In Singapore, the collaboration has been built with four hospitals and Australia with three hospitals. Common research has been with Singapore and Finnish hospitals to evaluate the impact of the co-created surgery solution for the parents and children on the pediatric surgery journey.  Through this work we have managed to: 

  1. Co-create services that allow more effective healthcare resources distribution and better personalized care
  2. Create new job opportunities for industry and research, to open a bigger market for participating companies e.g. through in Singapore-Finland co-operation
  3. Strengthen research collaboration among universities, hospitals, and companies between within and between different countries and to translate research evidence into the practice.

Targets for future activities

In the future, we will create prototypes & adaptive intervention of the next-generation continuous risk calculator and decision support systems for Stroke diagnostics and prevention. The work is conducted in an international research project funded by Business Finland. The Stroke-DATA project aims to build solutions for stroke prevention and diagnostics. The research is conducted as a close collaboration with several companies (Bittium, Everon, Uros, Vetrea, Innokas Medical, Tieto, Bitfactor, Invenco, Predicell) healthcare providers (KYS, OYS) and research institutes (Martti Ahtisaari Instituutti, Oulu University, VTT, Technical Research Centre of Finland and the University of Eastern Finland). The work includes the mutually agreed tasks in the project as well as work related to the future funding applications from the same or mutually-agreed field.   

If the data supports the stroke diagnostics and prevention as assumed, then the Stroke-DATA project solutions will lead to:

  1. More rapid and accurate diagnosis and early preventive treatment.
  2. Decrease amount of deaths in the misdiagnosed cases e.g. in the area of TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack)
  3. Decrease the hospitalization rate of stroke patients due to the earlier thrombolytic therapy in long-distance situations.
  4. Increase the competitiveness of Finnish medical technology companies in the neurology market.

Minna Pikkarainen, Ph.D. 
Professor of Connected Health 
Research Unit of Medical Imaging, Physics and Technology 
Faculty of Medicine

Martti Ahtisaari Institute
Oulu Business School
University of Oulu
VTT, Technical Research Centre of Finland
Data Driven Solutions
tel. +358 407539880


1. Rantala, A. Pikkarainen, M. Miettunen, J. Hong Gu, H. Pölkki, T. The Effectiveness of web-based mobile health interventions in paediatric outpatient surgery: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, Journal of Advanced Nursing, Accepted, in press. 

2.  Xu, Y., Kemppainen, L., Ahokangas, P. and Pikkarainen, M. (2020). Opportunity complementarity in data-driven business models. Journal of Business Models 

3. Jansson, M. Koivisto, J. Pikkarainen, M. Identified opportunities for gamification in the elective primary fast-track total hip and knee arthroplasty journey: Secondary analysis of healthcare professionals' interviews, Journal of Clinical Nursing 

4. Jansson MM, Rantala A, Miettunen, J. Puhto A-P, Pikkarainen M. The effects and safety of telerehabilitation in patients with lower-limb joint replacement: A systematic review and narrative synthesis. Journal of Telemedicine and Healthcare. 

5. Jansson MM, Harjumaa, M. Pikkarainen M. Gillian Vesty, Harjumaa, M. (2019) Study protocol for Icory intervention research. Journal of Advanced Nursing, in press. 

6. Hui, W.J., Pikkarainen, M., Nah, S.A., Nah, S.N.J., Pölkki, T., Wang, W. & He, H.G.* (2020). Parental Experiences While Waiting for Children Undergoing Surgery in Singapore. Journal of Pediatric Nursing. 
7. Häikiö, J. Ylikauhaluoma, S. Pikkarainen, M. Koivumäki, T.  Iivari, M. (2020) Expectations to data: Perspectives of service providers and users of future health and wellness services, Health Technology Journal, https://doi.org/10.1007/s12553-020-00410-z 

8. Kemppainen, L. Pikkarainen, M. Hurmelinna-Laukkanen, P. Reponen, J. (2020) Data Access in Connected Health Innovation: Managerial Orchestration Challenges and Solutions, Technology Innovation Management Review, Vol 9, Nro 12. 

9. Jansson MM, Harjumaa M, Puhto A-P, Pikkarainen M. (2019) Patients’ satisfaction and experiences during elective primary fast-track total hip and knee arthroplasty journey: A qualitative study, Journal of Clinical Nursing, Vol 29. Issue 3-4 

10. Gomes, J.F., Kemppainen, L., Pikkarainen, M., Koivumäki, T., & Ahokangas, P. (2020) Ecosystem business model scenarios for Connected Health, Journal of Business Models, Journal of Business Models, Vol. 7, No. 4, pp. 27-33 

11. Jansson MM, Harjumaa M, Puhto A-P, Pikkarainen, M. (2019) Healthcare professionals’ proposed eHealth needs in elective primary fast-track total hip and knee arthroplasty journey: A qualitative interview study. Journal of Clinical Nursing. DOI: 10.1111/jocn.15028 

12. Jansson MM, Harjumaa M, Puhto, A-P, Pikkarainen, M. (2019) Healthcare professionals’ perceived problems in fast-track hip and knee arthroplasty: results of a qualitative interview study. Journal of Orthopedic Surgery and Research. DOI: 10.1186/s13018-019-1334-3. 

13. Niemelä, R. Pikkarainen, M. Ervasti, M. Reponen, J. (2019) Towards understanding the transformation of pediatric surgery practice when using connected health technologies, Journal of Technological Forecasting and Social Change. Vol 146, p. 352-365. 

14. Pikkarainen, M. Koivumäki, T. Iivari, M. (2019) Seizing the Business Opportunities of MyData Service Delivery Network: Transforming the Business Models for Health Insurance Companies, journal of business models, Accepted, in press.   

15. Pikkarainen, M. Huhtala, T. Iivari, M. Häikiö, J. Kemppainen, L. (2019) Success factors of data-driven service ecosystems in the context of preventive health care, journal of innovation management, Vol. 7 No. 4 (2019) 

16. Huhtala, T. Saraniemi, S. Pikkarainen, M. (2019) Exploring potential changes in the business model: the impacts of using human-centered personal data as a resource, Journal of Business Models, Vol. 7 No. 2  

17. Ervasti M, Hautala, M. Pikkarainen, M. Haverinen, J. Reponen, J., Korpelainen, J. Martikainen, M. Thousands of transportations without real need - future technology solutions and novel methods to answer the challenges in emergency and acute care. Finnish Medical Journal, 2019 

18. Hautala, M., Ervasti, M., Pikkarainen, M., Reponen, J., Daavittila, I., Raatiniemi, L., Martikainen, M., Tuukkanen, J., & Korpelainen, J. (2019). Future connected health technology opportunities in non-urgent emergency care actions. Finnish Journal of EHealth and EWelfare, 11(1-2), 139-149.


Last updated: 22.5.2020