Finland moves ahead in Connected Health

From the productivity of its specialist hospitals to introducing electronic prescriptions and advanced technology for artificial voice production, Finland is actively developing systems for Connected Health.

The productivity of specialist hospitals is better in Finland than in the other Nordic countries, according to a study by the National Institute for Health and Welfare, a research and development institute which is under Finland’s Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. In Finland specialist hospital care is supported by the basic health care system which directs patients to hospital care and also acts as its gatekeeper. Health centres also offer bed spaces to patients that do not need specialist care but still need round-the-clock care.

The productivity of Finnish hospitals will be examined further through the EuroHOPE follow-up project, which will evaluate, through a microeconomic disease-based approach, the performance of European health care systems in terms of outcomes, quality, use of resources and cost.

Electronic prescriptions

Helsinki and Uusimaa regions are currently introducing the electronic prescription system in public health care services. About half of the public sector health centres in Finland are already using electronic prescriptions, according to Kela, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland. Electronic prescriptions are due to be in use in all public health care sector by March 2013 and in the private sector by March 2014.

Advances in artificial voice production

A research project led by Professor Samuli Siltanen from the University of Helsinki is developing methods that will contribute to manufacturing voice prostheses with improved affective features, which will greatly help people who suffer from vocal chord dysfunction. The project is developing a device that enables people with speech problems to produce natural-sounding speech by inputting text by typing or through eye movements.

The improved artificial voice device can also produce age-appropriate voices for women and children, instead of the usual voice of an adult male. The unique technology could be used for all languages and therefore has great potential internationally. Siltanen's project is part of the Academy of Finland's Computational Science Research Programme (LASTU).

Sources: Kauppalehti, Turun Sanomat, Academy of Finland, STT