During its 35 years of existence, Mylab has evolved from a small start-up in Tampere, Finland, to the leading expert in clinical laboratory and diagnostics information systems in the Nordic countries. However, one thing has never changed: the curiosity-fuelled will to provide value to customers through unbounded diagnostics.

Mylab: Middle-aged, trustworthy and forever curious 

Every morning when I wake up, I am met by the most wonderful mysteries, Esa Soini said at the beginning of his presentation at the Mylab Anniversary Seminar, celebrating 35 years of unbounded diagnostics. The seminar took place in Nokia Arena Lapland Hotel in Tampere on 1-2 September 2022.

Soini was Mylab’s CEO between 1993 and 2014, and he continued on the board of directors after that.  

During his talk, which was also his farewell speech, Soini shared his thoughts on time, life and happiness with about 170 spellbound listeners. The ambitious theme could not be more fitting: At the age of 35, Mylab is still true to the values it was founded upon. The mix of curiosity and trust, agility and standardisation, has gotten the firm far and will also be the driver for future endeavours.

Former CEO and member of Mylab’s board Esa Soini considers himself an adventurous amateur in the lawn of life.

From local start-up to international player 

Mylab was born on April Fool’s Day in 1987. Its parents, researchers Ilmo Tuohi and Tapani Heiniö had met each other at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, where they had developed computer systems for laboratories. They bought the rights for their solutions and started developing a common EDP unit for all clinical laboratories in Finland. 

The need was there, and we saw the opportunity, Heiniö explained in the history video that jump-started the seminar. 

Tampere’s Deputy Mayor Aleksi Jäntti highlighted how Mylab has been and still is an important player in an ongoing technological revolution in the city, where active communities work together to pioneer the future. 

Mylab’s 35-year-long history is the story of a steady – and at times explosive – development, always in close cooperation with major clients in the Finnish healthcare sector.  

It is the story of technological leaps in laboratory information management, bringing for example the Internet and mobile phones into the everyday work of clinicians, nurses and doctors.  

At the gateway to its teenage years and a new millennium, Mylab had, in collaboration with its clients, grown to become Finland’s undisputed market leader in diagnostics software services.  

In its thirties, Mylab expanded beyond Finland and bought the Swedish-Danish firm Autonik, and when the Covid pandemic hit, Mylab was ready to show its worth by providing cost-efficient testing solutions to Finnish customers and beyond! 

Meeting the future with standardised agility 

After 35 years of rapid development, Mylab is far from running out of steam. At the seminar, Senior Vice President for Operations Heikki Veinola and Chief Commercial Officer Hannu Honkala unveiled their plan for how Mylab will stream value for customers in the years to come.  

The key is “standardised agility,” meaning “the ability to sense and respond to the managed variety of needs in a predictable manner and by delivering value in the shortest possible sustainable lead times,” they suggested.  

It is all about sensing triggers, like customer needs and new medical requirements, as well as trends, responding to them in an agile manner and delivering value for healthcare personnel, patients and society. With this focus, Mylab is prepared to meet the fast-changing needs and upcoming surprises (such as pandemics) in the field of diagnostics in the future.  

In his closing words on day two of the seminar, Mylab’s CEO Samuli Niiranen pointed out that the guiding principle in healthcare, first, do no harm, maintains a certain conservatism in the management systems of the healthcare sector.  

While remembering primum non nocere, we still want to be dynamic, he noted. In other words, standardised and agile at the same time. 

Samuli Niiranen presented Mylab’s vision for integrated diagnostics. Driven by universal and shared technologies and infrastructure, especially related to digitalisation, it brings the laboratory, radiology and other diagnostic modalities closer to each other.  

Integrated diagnostics is one way of increased value creation in healthcare. This can happen through better health outcomes to patients where the impact of diagnostic information is increased via synthesising and integrating the information provided by the different diagnostic modalities, Niiranen said. 

On the other hand, there’s a possibility to reduce the cost of delivering these outcomes via shared use of commonly usable technologies and infrastructure among the diagnostic modalities especially related to digitalisation. 

Mylab CEO Samuli Niiranen said he had a warm feeling at the end of the anniversary seminar. “We have been successful in linking the past, present and future,” he noted.

The meaning of life 

Let’s end where we started, with the glorious mysteries that surround us. Esa Soini went during his presentation through thousands of years of history of ideas to argue that time is the manifestation of the continuously expanding universe, life is a collection of algorithms, and its purpose is to save the universe. Happiness, he noted, appears, when you least expect it. 

There is light. Some people call it God. The meaning of life is to catch the light and to reflect it to the others, he stated, quoting Carlos, a travel guide from Costa Rica.  

You could say that this is what Mylab has strived for during the past 35 years and continues to do: catch the light and reflect it to others.  

For twenty-nine years I have served the healthcare community in Mylab. Those years, months, and days have been full of joy and pride. I have not counted the days that I have been enjoying total happiness while working in Mylab – but there have been plenty of them, Soini rounded his presentation off and thanked clients, partners and colleagues for all the happiness they have brought to his life. 

Mylab’s Anniversary Seminar programme was stuffed with interesting speakers. Stay tuned for more articles about the past, future and present of unbounded diagnostics!

“Co-creation has always been our pleasure,” said Hannu Honkala and Heikki Veinola from Mylab in their presentation about streaming value for customers.

About 170 people from Mylab and its customers joined the Anniversary Seminar in Tampere in early September 2022 to celebrate, network, and listen to the many-faceted presentations about unbounded diagnostics.

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