Finland is in a leadership position with regard to the transformation of health and social care systems, according to Marc Lange, Secretary General of the European Health Telematics Association (EHTEL), which has conducted a peer review of Finnish eHealth developments in the European context. “Finland represents a world level benchmark for eHealth. There is already a huge amount of experience and Finland has a lot of creativity among the health care professionals,” said Lange at a health care IT event held in Turku this week.
According to the review, Finland is sitting on a metaphorical gold mine because of the quantity, timeliness and quality of the data collected about routine healthcare processes. “Almost all of the records are ‘electronic from birth’ and the country has direct access to a source of valuable information and resources,” said Lange.
Challenges create business opportunities
The report also identifies some areas where Finland could improve its eHealth performance. The challenges include improving chronic disease management, patient empowerment, and increasing the involvement of healthcare practitioners. The return on investment is also still weak because the infrastructure is mainly an enabler and requires more services to deliver clinical and economic value.
Threats against Finland’s eHealth system include the risk of information overload because of the volume of data collected. High demand for personal health data from the citizens and patients may put the service provision under stress. Also the value and sensitivity of the data held inside various health and care systems increases risks. Solutions are also required to deal with possible attacks against the system and in case a service provider goes bankrupt.