Nordic nurse-tech pioneer chooses Yorkshire for UK launch

Norway’s VAR Healthcare, a provider of online knowledge and decision support systems for frontline staff across Scandinavia, is to launch in the UK.

The company has joined the Innovation Pop Up at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust to gain a foothold in the NHS market.

VAR Healthcare provides nurses and healthcare professionals with an easy-to-use digital tool to quickly access details of hundreds of clinical procedures to support safe and continuous patient care.

The system is in use in nearly all hospitals and municipalities in Norway and municipalities in Denmark besides the universities and colleges for nursing education at all levels.

VAR Healthcare is also being adopted across Germany, Austria and Switzerland as a preferred tool in the digitalisation strategy of the healthcare sector.

Ann Kristin Rotegård, managing director, said: “We have ambitions to spread out further and share best practice to support all nurses so they can give the best possible patient care.

“We have a wonderful collaboration with the Innovation Pop Up in Leeds which is opening doors for us in the UK.

“In the future, we would like to open a UK office and create jobs for experienced local nurses to help us grow further.”

VAR Healthcare aims to help frontline staff make rapid and qualified decisions, speed up access to the latest best practice and improve documentation, nurse satisfaction, lifelong learning and patient outcomes.

It was founded in 2002 as a project to digitise a handbook for nurses and proved popular with hospitals, universities and providers in primary care in Norway.

Norwegian publishing house Cappelen Damm acquired VAR Healthcare in 2012 and has helped to develop the product and expand into new markets.

The company is starting a pilot scheme with staff at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust to gather feedback from nurses on the technology, language, terms and content, which it is adapting for the UK market with the support of the Innovation Pop Up.

Professor David Brettle, chief scientific officer at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and founder of the Innovation Pop Up, said: “Leeds represents one of Europe’s largest medical, academic and industrial establishments and has a supportive ecosystem for health tech companies like VAR Healthcare.

“It is the ideal environment for scaling up innovations in healthcare.”

The trust launched the Innovation Pop Up to bring together entrepreneurs, researchers and clinicians to create, evaluate and adopt new products and services to transform health and social care and drive economic growth.

Since its launch in September 2021, the Pop Up has worked with 150 companies, identified 30 collaborations and ten funding opportunities.