Country focus: Finland
While many European countries are still debating the potential of e-health and whether or not, and how, to get started, Finland is now delivering. Finnish political commitment to e-health dates back to the mid-1990s.
The challenge for Finland has been how to build on the widespread but diverse and fragmented range of electronic patient record systems in use within the regional health services, where care is planned and funded by each County Council.
A national Finnish strategy for utilising information technology in health and social care was published by the social affairs and health ministry in 1996. Regional implementation of e-health dates back to 1998, when the first pilots began on integrating different patient record information systems.
The early 2000s saw further regional experiments in building a ‘reference directory’ of patient record location information, almost all municipalities and hospital districts have now joined the directory. With these foundations now in place the objective now is to link local and regional electronic patient records systems into a national eArchive.