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A uniform knowledge base directs social welfare services

Blog Written on 22.03.2019 All blogs

In the Kanta Services, the client data archive for social welfare services gathers client data into a national central archive. A uniform knowledge base is a key to a high standard of knowledge management.

The client data archive for social welfare services within the Kanta Services was introduced in 2018, and during 2019 an increasing number of social welfare organisations are joining the service. A national archive enables availability and utilisation of client data in social welfare services regardless of the location. As a result of the archive, recording of client data in social welfare services is also harmonised.

“Until now, all operators have recorded client data largely according to their own methods, and for that reason we have not been able to compare different operators with one another. When the Kanta Services are now being introduced also in the social welfare services, it directs the recording process in client work to be as harmonised as possible throughout the country,” says Enterprise Architecture Specialist Mikko Huovila from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

Illustration of clients of social welfare services.

Client data recorded in social welfare is a key source in the development of social welfare services. A huge amount of information is created in client work every day, and the management should be able to make better decisions on the basis of this information. A uniform knowledge base also creates preconditions for better knowledge management. 

The ultimate purpose of the deployment of the client data archive for social welfare services, harmonisation of client data and that way achieving better knowledge management is to provide high-standard services that meet the clients’ needs. 

“As a result of a centralised archive, the data recorded in client work can be utilised in a completely different way in the planning, direction and monitoring of social welfare services. The more information is collected into the archive from different organisations, the better opportunities we will have to produce information for improving the services and allocating resources in accordance with the clients' needs. Therefore, we are hoping that the deployment of the Kanta Services progresses on schedule with respect to the social welfare services,” says Development Manager Riikka Väyrynen from the National Institute for Health and Welfare.

Comparable data supports the evaluation of social welfare services

In connection with the deployment of the client data archive for social welfare services, organisations will update their recording method, i.e. certain matters must be recorded according to the national classification. In practice, this means that in the future all social welfare organisations – both public and private – will use the same document structures in the recording of client data. Uniform recording methods not only facilitate the arrangement of client services when the location changes, but they also enable collection of comparable data. 

“Data is used, for example, in the evaluation of the service system and in showing the direction of the provision of social welfare services. On the other hand, legislation sets the framework for secondary use of client data, such as compiling of national statistics, monitoring and research, and, of course, knowledge management,” Riikka Väyrynen explains. 

A big change with major benefits

Information that is as extensive and uniform as possible offers a high-standard tool for the management in support of decision-making. A clear knowledge base is useful when thinking about what is really happening in the social welfare services: Are the services successful? What is their impact? How much money is spent in organising the services and where is it spent? How can we improve the quality of services?

“However, we must remember that this really is a big change. It is a great effort for the entire social welfare sector to start following the same knowledge management principles. This change will not take place in just a couple of years. However, many of the challenges in social welfare are specifically challenges in knowledge management as we don’t have enough real information about the quality of services. When we invest in these things, we will be able to tackle any shortcomings,” says Mikko Huovila.

The ultimate purpose of the deployment of the client data archive for social welfare services, harmonisation of client data and that way achieving better knowledge management is to provide high-standard services that meet the clients’ needs. 

“If there is no knowledge, it is extremely difficult to utilise it, in which case management is based more on a gut feeling. When we have better knowledge about different services, we are able to produce social welfare services that have been found to be effective and are correctly targeted,” Riikka Väyrynen adds.

Further information

Client data archive for social welfare services