Opportunities for healthcare and the Northern Netherlands economy
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Opportunities for healthcare and the Northern Netherlands economy

The start of PGO Netwerk Noord will speed up the development of PGO services. Companies and healthcare institutions from Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe are working together in the program. The goal is to enable as many citizens as possible to use PBMC services, to stimulate care innovations and to contribute to better and affordable care. The Samenwerkingsverband Noord-Nederland (SNN) has granted a 4 million euro subsidy to the program.

Personal health environment (PBM)

More and more people want to be able to direct their own health. By using PBM services, this is possible. In a PGO, usually a website or app, personal medical information from, for example, hospital, GP, home care and physiotherapist is collected centrally. As a citizen or patient, this gives you access to your own health data and you decide which medical information you want to share with third parties.

Opportunities for healthcare and the Northern Netherlands economy

Linking data

Much personal medical data is currently in the systems of various healthcare providers. The idea is to link all this data and ensure that as many healthcare providers as possible want to share their data in a PBM. As a citizen or patient, you can choose your own PBM. You can also link your own apps and health programs to it, for example apps that measure your blood sugar or lung function, a program that helps you maintain your weight or measurements from wearables in the field of sports.

Also by corona, there are more and more digital innovations that improve health and care and make it more affordable. These new products and services are expected to permanently transform healthcare. The further development of PBMs can make a valuable contribution to ease the burden of care. On top of that, PBMs will create new jobs.

PBM services and products

PGO Network North offers opportunities for both healthcare and business in the Northern Netherlands. The network is a consortium of over forty northern companies and healthcare institutions. The steering committee consists of Stichting GERRIT (an alliance of healthcare providers in the field of ICT and information exchange), Philips, De Friesland healthcare insurer, Medisch Centrum Leeuwarden (MCL), Stichting Kennislab Noordoost Friesland and NOM.

They work together with the other companies in the network to drive new healthcare innovations and to get the development of PBM services and products going in the Northern Netherlands, says program manager Michel Evers. The network has specific knowledge and expertise available to support innovative SMEs and startups with their plans: technical, financial and substantive. In the field of technical infrastructure, standards for data exchange and reaching citizens, there is cooperation with the PCH Ecosystem (see box).


The basic PBMs are being developed by Philips, Ivido and Quli, parties that are also participating in the program. 'What we want is for all PBM services and products to be interchangeable with all PBMs,' says Michel. 'For this, secure data exchange between healthcare provider and patient is important. We help SMEs and startups build a technical infrastructure that enables data exchange in PBMs
that meets MedMij's strict privacy and security standards. We also support entrepreneurs in their search for funding or with specific expertise.

Parties such as Flinc, Ik ben Drents Ondernemer and Ynbusiness are focused on scaling up initiatives and increasing cooperation between different parties. In doing so, we increase the impact on the economy in the Northern Netherlands and the quality and cost of care. Emphatically, we also focus on the use of PBM services and products by citizens and healthcare professionals, the end users. We work with a number of practice labs in the Northern Netherlands where we both test and stimulate the use of PBM services. In this way we aim to ensure that the services are not only developed but also used.


The program runs until June 2023. The ambition is to have 200,000 northern PBM users by then. For this it is important that as many healthcare providers as possible want to share their data. PGO Network North is looking for companies that are active at the intersection of economy and healthcare, are focused on developing a PBM service or product and want to join. Entrepreneurs interested can contact.

Triple Helix Cooperation

The Samenwerkingsverband Noord-Nederland (SNN) has awarded a 4 million euro grant to PGO Netwerk Noord. The amount comes from the European Regional Development Fund. The GERRIT Foundation is the lead agency for PGO Network North.

Collaboration with PCH Ecosystem

PGO Network North is working with the Personalized & Connected Health (PCH) Ecosystem. PCH is an open innovation system in which the intention is to initiate and implement innovation projects around PBMs with SMEs and start-ups. The Samenwerkingsverband Noord-Nederland (SNN), Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) have provided funding for this. In the PCH Ecosystem, Lifelines, Thunderbyte AI, WijDus B.V., Inter-Psy, Certe and UMCG are taking the lead.


MedMij ensures that everyone who wants it can have access to their health data in a self-chosen personal health environment. It is important here that you, as a citizen, decide what data you collect in your PGO and with whom you share it. MedMij is the Dutch standard for the safe exchange of health data between citizens and health professionals. In order to obtain the MedMij label, an extensive assessment is carried out. The MedMij Foundation consists of national organizations of patients and health care providers.

Looking for funding for your PBM service or product?

Gerieke Been is Flinc project manager, guiding innovative startups towards funding and has experience in the medical technology sector, among others. Gerieke talks about what Flinc can do for startups and app-builders with a PBM service or product.

'The ever-rising cost of care in the Netherlands will eventually have to be brought down through innovation and more efficient work. PBMs can help with that. PGO Netwerk Noord is a large and interesting network of companies and healthcare institutions that startups with good ideas would like to join. Life science and medical technology are hot topics in the Northern Netherlands, and many parties are already working together. Hence the involvement of Flinc.

With our participation, we want to be visible to innovative startups that need help with their growth plans. We help by putting them in touch with the right parties. Whether that is to validate a product or service, because they are looking for a launching customer or because they need help finding funding, we offer help at every stage, from the prototype to finding suitable funding.'

'PGO Network North wants to encourage the use of PBMs among as many citizens as possible. That means opportunities for startups and app-builders with a PBM service or product. Inclusion in the yet-to-be-developed e-health appstore gives access to a large customer group that can immediately start testing the product or include it in their PBM. An app can also be distributed within other PBM networks in the Netherlands. Great examples of entrepreneurs we support through the network are PETRA and Inforium.'

PETRA, web-based diary tool

PETRA stands for "personalized treatment by real-time assessment. It is designed for adults in treatment for mental health problems. In this diary tool, people in treatment can keep a daily record of how they are feeling. Treatment providers can use PETRA to create a personalized diary with their patients and interpret collected data. This provides greater insight into how daily factors affect perceived problems. This is then a good basis for intervention selection and shared-decision making during treatment. In addition, completing diaries gives patients greater insight and self-management of their issues.

Flinc guided us to further structure our plans, understand our legal entity and its implications for raising funding. Working with Flinc made it clear that PGO Network North was not the most logical platform for PETRA, but ultimately connected us to Triad.
Harriet Riese (associate professor, department of psychiatry, UMCG)

Inforium, customized digital information

Inforium 's philosophy is that patients and clients who are well-informed also have a better grip and understanding of their situation and treatment and make better choices. Inforium is a content platform that shares digital context information tailored by the healthcare provider with the client. A leaflet is replaced by an Inforium with video, text and links from accredited resources provided by email and to portal and/or
or PBM can be shared with a client. Using Inforium is easy for caregivers. Care is more efficient, requiring fewer contact hours with the physician. Technically, a place for explanation and customized information will have to be created in the PBMs alongside the data. Through a linkage process, MedMij and Inforium aim to realize this. The first content will probably be placed in the PGO via MedMij in 2021.

We are working with Flinc on a business model and funding so that we can provide PBM North partners with reliable content for their applications. This will allow them to provide their users with accredited customized information without worry.
Dr. Markus L.Y.M. Oei - Founder and director of innovation Inforium