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Sitra brings a new sound to health care

The New Sound of Health Care panel discussion in Pori played a new tune: positive belief in the sufficiency of funds to maintain our health care system.


We’ll make ends meet

On 18 July, the New Sound of Health Care panel discussion at SuomiAreena in Pori played a new tune: positive belief in the sufficiency of funds to maintain our health care system. However, the use of health care funds needs to be reframed in a more open-minded way; outdated service structures will also have to be dismantled.

The participants in the discussion led by Sitra’s President Esko Aho included Eero Vaissi, Director of Social and Health Services, City of Raisio; Juhani Alanen, Deputy Mayor, City of Mikkeli; Kari Nenonen, Managing Director, HUS; and Kati Myllymäki, Chief Physician, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

“The entire health care system needs a thorough reassessment. Many things are fine, but future challenges are so huge that we can’t cope with them using the current operating models,“ said Esko Aho.

Reasonably-priced, high-quality services are possible

Changes and reforms are not a threat, but an opportunity, and even a prerequisite for a good health care system. It is possible to produce reasonably-priced, high-quality services; however, it requires a higher cost, and a greater quality awareness, an effective use of new technologies (electronic services in particular), and an increase in each citizen’s capacity for taking responsibility for their own health.

“We should really improve customer-orientation. Cost control, cost awareness, and productivity can be increased through pricing policies for municipal services, transparency of funding and implementation of the service voucher system and the purchaser-provider models. Moreover, increasing initiative and health awareness in the public greatly contributes to preventive health care,” Mr Aho continued.

Transparency in decision-making and monitoring

One example of an effective purchaser-provider model is the City of Raisio where the municipal council, committees, and the municipal board each have their own clear roles: the council is the purchaser and the social and health care committee the provider.

”The Raisio model considerably increases transparency in the overall management of services, decision-making, and monitoring. The model uses charts that contain information on the basis of which decision makers can genuinely steer and manage the services, while also rectifying any distortions in the structure, which are the single most important reason for excessive costs. Parallel monitoring of finances and activities, as well as the continuous development of activities, are paramount if a municipality wishes to overcome the challenges of future health care,” said Eero Vaissi.

A new kind of customer relationship in health care culture

The City of Mikkeli is developing a new kind of relationship with their customers and health care culture that crosses organisational borders.

“Bold, creative and close co-operation between the social and health care administration and special health care serves first and foremost the customer. The web portal Hyvis ( is a good example of a non-profit health portal that provides all the essential information for self-help purposes. It serves well as a health care user interface for everybody. The service is also available in sign language,” says Juhani Alanen.

”Customer orientation and reliable health information in electronic services support customer self-help and initiative. We can further improve efficiency and productivity in health care when the services are not only used but also targeted correctly,” Alanen says.

Further information

Hannu Hanhijärvi, Executive Director, Sitra’s Health Care Programme
Tel. +358 9 6189 9440

Communications: Elina Antila, Kuule Oy
Tel. +358 40 548 3838

The Sitra panel also discussed the newly-published Terveydenhuollon barometri (“Health Care Barometer”) produced by TNS Gallup that describes Finnish views on health care.
Further information (in finnish) »