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E-services change health care for the good of the customer

Sitra’s Health Care Programme brought together the key persons of Finnish Health care to the seminar "Challenges for the future: Digitalisation of health care"


Press release 28 September 2005 Sitra’s Health Care Programme brought together the key persons of Finnish Health care to its seminar Challenges for the future: Digitalisation of health care in Helsinki on 28 September 2005.The purpose of the seminar was to provide new information on the opportunities presented by digitalisation in health care. The speakers at the seminar consisted of Finnish and foreign experts who shared their experiences and views on the development of health care. Liisa Hyssälä, Minister of Health and Social Services, introduced the Finnish strategy. The objective is that Finland would, in the next few years, have implemented an electronic archive system for health care and a national electronic health record system. Legislation will also be amended to correspond to these changes. “Implementing the strategy requires, however, confidence between the different parties, co-operation and commitment to common goals,” said Hyssälä. The development and implementation of a national electronic health record system is an enormous step for Finland. “Health records and results stored in one place will enable a completely new standard for analysing care and its results,” said Hannu Hanhijärvi, Executive Director of Sitra’s Health Care Programme. “It will facilitate a consistent long-term development of care processes.” The introduction of e-Services is still in its early stages in Finland. For experiences of large-scale information systems Finland has to look to other countries. Examples of good practices were learnt, for example, from the USA, where private health care providers have launched extensive projects in the field. The California-based Kaiser Permanente has invested $ 2 billion in the digitalisation of their health care systems. It has a huge customer base when compared to Finland: over 8 million people. The company is the largest health care provider in the region and once the system has been completed, it will be one of the most advanced in the world. “Our primary aim is to improve our operations and customer service although we naturally also wish to increase the profitability of our operations,” said Dr Andrew M. Wiesenthal. Information technology can be applied in health care in a more versatile manner than at present. “The technology already exists. The challenge is to make organisational and operative changes to introduce innovations. Ultimately, the changes are made to serve the citizens,” said Esko Aho, President of Sitra. The seminar was recorded on video and will be viewable on Sitra’s website (Seminaarit verkossa) after the seminar ends. The seminar speakers are: Dr. Ross Fletcher (Veterans’ Affairs Medical Center, USA), Larry L. Smith, Vice President (MedStar Health, USA), Dr. Andrew M. Wiesenthal (Kaiser Permanente, USA) and Dr. W. Anthony Nowlan (independent information system expert, UK) Liisa Hyssälä, Minister of Health and Social Services (Ministry of Social Affairs and Health), Professor Niilo Saranummi (VTT), Ilkka Kunnamo, MD (Lääkäriseura Duodecim), Carl-Johan Lindfors, Senior Vice President (TietoEnator), Esko Aho, President (Sitra) and Hannu Hanhijärvi, Director (Sitra Health Care Programme). Further information Hannu Hanhijärvi, Executive Director, Health Care Programme, Sitra, tel. +358 50 537 8797Laura Niemi, Communications Manager, Communications, Sitra, tel. +358 50 373 8602 Sitra Health Care Programme Sitra’s Health Care Programme is looking for new solutions to provide the public with a better service and to make the sector even more effective. Sitra’s role in this area is based on partnership and collaboration. We bring suitable partners together to take health care to the level required in the future.