Planning and execution
Under a change in legislation effective from 1 January 2011, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (STM) is responsible for the strategic steering of electronic data management related to social and health services, as well as deciding on the implementation of important projects. The operational management of the work is the responsibility of the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL). In addition, THL is in charge of the code sets used in the Kanta Services. As from 1 January 2012, THL also promotes and supports the deployment of data system services. The
Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela) is tasked with the construction of the electronic prescription and Patient Records Archive data system services, as well as My Kanta pages for the citizens. The Population Register Centre (VRK) is responsible for the certification service for healthcare, and the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira) is responsible for the role and attribute services and related coding.
Other important partners in the project are private and public healthcare and pharmacies, data system and data network suppliers, and organisations such as the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities, the Association of Finnish Pharmacies (SAL), and the Finnish Medical Association.
Impacts on pharmacy and patient record systems
Electronic prescriptions and the Patient Data Repository are used via pharmacy and patient record systems. Kela is not constructing separate user interfaces for them. That is why deployment of the services requires changes to data systems used by pharmacies and healthcare services.
The Act on Electronic Prescriptions provides that deployment of electronic prescriptions is mandatory for pharmacies, healthcare units, and self-employed persons with practices in healthcare units' premises.
Under the Act on electronic patient information processing in social and health services, public healthcare organisations are obliged to enter patient records in a nationally centralised archive. In private healthcare, deployment is compulsory if the long-term storage system of patient documentation is electronic.
Background to electronic prescriptions
When a doctor prescribes medication to a patient, the prescription is usually printed on paper. To get the drug, the patient takes the prescription to a pharmacy, where he is given the prescribed medicine.
There are a number of problems with paper, telephone and fax prescriptions. An incorrect interpretation of a hand-written prescription can result in the wrong medicine being dispensed. Prescriptions are also easily forged. Information technology can help to reduce problems related to prescriptions, as well as the work involved in dispensing them.
The basic function of electronic prescriptions is the same as that of currently used prescriptions. The intention is that the system is easier for the patient than is currently the case, and the patient no longer needs to keep paper prescriptions safe. Patients can also pick up their medicines from all pharmacies operating in Finland.
A comprehensively used system and the management of patients' overall medication regimens it allows bring significant benefits to patient care, operation of healthcare organisations, and management of the drug reimbursement system. However, rapid deployment is only possible when it is made compulsory for all healthcare units and pharmacies.
Background to Patient Data Repository
Electronic medical records are in use in almost all health centres and hospitals. However, the medical records in electronic form are still stored in each organisation's own patient record system. The documents need to be printed off on paper, for example for filing. Because the technology solutions are implemented partly using diverse principles, all data systems are not interoperable.
We can make use of the opportunities provided by information technology in an effort to improve the accessibility, quality and cost-effectiveness of social and healthcare services. Developing an information technology solution that is both efficient in terms of the national economy and functional has demanded systematic and long-term national management.
The government is funding the set-up costs of the Kanta data system service, as well as making a provision in the budget for operating costs. The user charges for each service payable by clients will come into force in phases 2012-2015. The charges are set by a Ministry of Social Affairs and Health Decree at levels corresponding to the costs of providing the services.
The first Annual Report for the Kanta Services has been published.
Toimintakertomus 2011 in Finnish (pdf, 2,923 kb)