Published January 9, 2018

Changing legislation to stimulate research and corporate collaboration in the welfare sector

Finnish data on social and healthcare will be utilised more efficiently in the future for the development of new medicines, treatments and management. Legislative work is under way and the aim is to open a one-stop service for researchers and developers in late 2018, without the need to compromise on data security.
Author's profile page: Hannu Hämäläinen
Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health

The author acts as Ministerial Adviser at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tasked with the promotion of innovation activities and digitisation at the Department for Social and Health Services.

Why is the change necessary?

Finland has unique healthcare registers. Information on individuals, along with their personal identity codes, has been stored in databases since the 1970s. However, this data has been buried deep in many registers and cannot easily be made available to researchers or to those developing treatments and medications. Getting permission for research can take as long as two to four years. Sometimes permission has actually been denied.

Legislation on the secondary use of social and health data has focused on allowing its use for scientific and statistical purposes. So far, health data that has been rendered anonymous has been made available only for scientific research, and scientific methods have been used for its study.

The world has changed. Research and development work and data management require faster practices than before and a broader combination of data from different sources.

Finland to get a one-stop service for users of data

New practices will already be in place in 2018. Legislative work is under way and a new service is expected to begin operating in late 2018. The data will be opened up for more extensive use than is currently the case, in areas such as education, management and official planning work, in addition to research. A unique ecosystem will be available for international research and will extend corporate co-operation without compromising on data security.


This is the second part of our series of videos related to the 2nd Annual Nordic Precision Medicine Forum event that will be held in Copenhagen on 20 and 21 March 2018.

Further information: Ministry of Social Affairs and Health press release


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