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The future of healthcare is in your data

Finland’s international health data pilots aim to make people’s lives easier and safer. The future of healthcare is here.


Heli Nissinen

Senior Lead, Communications and Public Affairs

Ilkka Räsänen


Sitra and its partners are helping to build fairer ways of using health data for healthcare with cutting-edge pilot projects. These international pilots are based on real business models and will create new services by using individuals’ personal data – with their permission.

These pilot projects will be on show at HIMSS Europe conference in Helsinki from 11 to 13 June 2019. We hope to see you there.

Blood sugar monitoring made easy

Diabetes is a very stressful condition, especially for young children and their parents. To keep a child’s blood sugar levels on the safe side, families must make several treatment decisions during each day. Luckily, with modern technology, blood glucose levels can be monitored without continuously taking blood samples.

This has improved many lives, but problems persist. Parents cannot access a diabetic child’s blood glucose measurement data in an effective and secure way. The same goes for professionals in charge of a patient’s care: it is difficult for all parties involved to get up-to-date information on a child’s blood sugar levels. Care of a patient’s data is also often divided between several different parties and not within easy reach of the patient’s parents and professionals.

The IHAN project “Measuring a child’s blood sugar” aims to help automate the process of moving data from one place to another – between parents and professionals – and to manage the consent for this very sensitive data. The aim of the project is to make the daily life of a diabetic child and their family easier when it comes to treating diabetes and developing a consent-based data transfer mechanism with the patient’s doctor.

According to one of the pilot project’s participants, the parent of an eight-year-old boy who was diagnosed with diabetes six years ago: “This has a dramatic effect on improving the quality of family life. A parent can support child care remotely and does not need to constantly take care of or call the child for blood glucose levels.”

The project involves Nightscout’s network of diabetics and their caregivers, who can monitor their child’s blood glucose levels remotely using a device such as a smart watch.

The ultimate goal of the project is to build an ecosystem that makes sharing health data easier, not only between patients, parents and professionals but also with schools or youth sports teams, for example.

Project partners: The Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS), CGI and the Population Register Centre of Finland.

Safe travels with My Travel Health

What happens when you travel abroad and require medical attention? If the local doctor has no clue of your medical history (and for some reason you are not able to share this information), the treatment you will receive will most likely not be as effective or as safe as it could have been with your full health data.

The My Travel Health project aims to help ensure that healthcare professionals have all the required up-to-date information available and in a meaningful way to start effective care. At the same time, it is important for the traveller to stay informed and in control of the exchanged information.

By using the patient summary services (Kanta) of the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela) as a data source, the project is building a solution – an app – that will carry your healthcare data with you and interpret it for local healthcare professionals in different languages. The service will enable the sharing of health information with all audited service providers, with the traveller’s permission. With this technology, travellers can get better healthcare services beyond national borders, companies and innovators have a platform for health data-based solutions targeted at a global market and healthcare providers get cost-efficient and accurate data.

The aim is to launch the new app at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Project partners: Fujitsu, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela) and the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. The project is part of the EU’s Patient Summary Initiative.

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