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Sitra – reforming social welfare and healthcare between 2007 and 2019

Sitra has been working towards the reform of social welfare and healthcare since the early 2000s. From the start, the underlying theme of the work has been developing services and the service system in a human-oriented manner, making use of technology, data and best practices.


Jukka Vahti

Project Director, Digital power and democracy


The world is changing at an accelerating pace, and the core functions of our society, such as social welfare and healthcare, should keep up with this transformation.

Digitisation and the development of technology have drastically revolutionised our everyday lives over the past few decades. In recent years, we have also seen many decisive innovations and advancements in health and well-being, such as remote medicine, new ways of collecting and making use of genome data or the general opportunities for making use of data, to mention just a few.

“As the population ages quickly, the change is inevitable for both humane and financial reasons.”

Our concepts of health and well-being are becoming more multifaceted. More people think that we simply cannot afford not to shift the focus from treating illnesses and diseases towards comprehensive and preventative health promotion.

As the population of Finland ages quickly, the change is inevitable for both humane and financial reasons.

The year 2019 and Sitra’s “settlement of social welfare and healthcare accounts”

Sitra has been involved in dozens of projects and reports related to health and well-being since the early 2000s – and also in many ways even before that.

The underlying goal of all the projects has been to improve human orientation, transparency and effectiveness.

The start of 2019 marked a natural point for compiling all the work on health and well-being we have carried out with our partners over the past decade or so.

Future actions require future thoughts.

That is why we have decided to organise the Keep It Healthy in the Future (“Tervettä menoa tulevaisuuteen”) event in Messukeskus, Helsinki in February 2019 as a sort of “settlement of accounts”. This also presents an opportunity for us to collect together our projects on social welfare and healthcare and what we have experienced and learned from them on the future media.

Reports, pilot projects, events, visits, concepts, networking events and the results of practical work carried out on forums over the years have been compiled under five umbrella themes: data, services, well-being, co-operation and funding.

Sitra is not only Finland’s future fund, but also a think-and-do tank, and the five themes represent the two sides of Sitra: future actions require future thoughts (and vice versa).

Authorise people to influence the things that affect them

In relation to the five umbrella themes mentioned above, we have summarised our view in five future statements:

  1. People should control data that concerns them.
  2. We should move from treating illnesses and diseases to preventive and comprehensive health promotion.
  3. More than before, the keys to success will be fresh ideas, co-operation and social capital.
  4. Social welfare and healthcare services should be effective and accessible.
  5. Data and funding should be tools of service management and leadership.

Below, you will find an insightful article related to each of these themes. We’ll be discussing the themes on social media using the hashtag #tervettämenoa

And Keep it healthy!

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