Finland’s HIT Systems Success

Finland is advanced in the country’s use of IT systems within the healthcare industry, as compared to other European nations according to a report prepared by embassies abroad and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Commercial Service https://www.export.gov/usoffices. Recent growth in the country can be attributed to significant investments in digital solutions and the availability of financial instruments.

Since 2010, Finland’s use of EHRs among primary health centers and secondary care hospital districts has been at 100 percent. The healthcare system enables widespread simple access to convenient e-prescribing.

However, today the Finnish government realizes that there is a need for more reliable and consistent HIT communications and EHR sharing between municipalities, regional districts, and private care providers. Integration of health information systems is needed along with cross organizational and cross country processing of patient information.

Mobile health services (mHealth) are increasingly compensating for services that have been tied to a certain infrastructure or place. A common infrastructure for mHealth software is currently missing.

One of the leading health IT sub-sectors includes software applications for the Apotti project www.apotti.fi/en. This project is a cooperative effort to develop a regional information structure plus health and social services for 1-2 million people in the Helsinki-Uusimaa hospital district.

The Apotti project is being followed closely by other health districts and is the first-of-its-kind to cover such a massive number of people. The program is planned to be fully implemented by 2020. The roll-out of the Apotti project using Epic’s EMR software provides opportunities for collaboration.

Another sub-sector project called UNA comprised of 17 health districts and 7 cities around Finland is up and coming with the goal to have the new patient information system functional by the beginning of 2019.

The country is continually developing and improving their nationwide electronic archive of patients’ health information via the system called KanTa along with health related services such as e-prescribing which is a viable entry point for U.S products and services.

In addition, telemedicine the third sub-sector, is expected to gain an even more visible presence in the near future as far reaching goals for telemedicine show continued promise in improving the healthcare system. Also, there should be an increase in self-care and self-monitoring using a variety of portable and wearable sensors and mobile applications.

The Finnish workforce is aging at a rapid pace. The widespread change of patient demographics will affect the availability of clinicians. The coming of retiring healthcare professions will occur at a critical time during which there will be a greater need for specialists. However, this shortage of clinicians presents an opportunity for companies to present new health IT ideas to bridge the gap.

Healthtech Finland, http://healthtech.tecknologiateollisuus.fi/english is an industry association and part of Technology Industries of Finland. Current members represent eHealth and telemedicine, care and rehabilitation, in-vitro diagnostics and laboratory solutions, measurement, monitoring, imaging, sterilization, furnishings, and logistics, plus accelerator organizations.

For more information, email Tina.ketela@trade.gov.

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