Use of health data in RDI activities

Research, development and innovation will benefit from better access to data. The projects will survey the bottlenecks of the use of data and seek new solutions for using data.


What is it about?

The rapidly digitalised healthcare sector produces massive amounts of data. Its seamless use provides opportunities to develop improved services, new medicines, treatments and preventive solutions and, above all, better well-being for people.

The models and usage options for the smooth use of data are taking shape.

The projects will collect experiences of the use of data and seek new practical solutions.

Ongoing projects

New methods for breast cancer detection

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide. New tools are needed to identify and diagnose the disease from imaging results.

The project will build a platform that will enable researchers to experiment with new breast cancer detection methods from different datasets, such as mammography data. The platform will feature public, private and synthetic datasets and tools for experimenting with different methods. The project will also run an international competition to seek solutions for detecting breast cancer from mammography data using AI. The project is due to end on 15 June 2023.

Project implemented by: University of Eastern Finland, Arto Mannermaa (forename.surname (at)

Models for monitoring the effectiveness of new medicines

The data needed for the reimbursement and introduction of new medicines is currently based on the results of clinical trials. But once introduced, treatment outcomes are not systematically monitored in the healthcare system.

The project uses an operating model based on the OMOP (Observational Medical Outcomes Partnership) data model and federated analyses for monitoring the post-approval effectiveness of new medicines, using three examples. The new models will allow the outcomes of medicines and treatments to be monitored in practice without sharing individual personal data. The standardised data models will facilitate future international cooperation on the collection of additional evidence. The resulting process descriptions, models and their evaluation will be published once the results are available. The project is due to end on 31 December 2023.

Project implemented by: Wellbeing Services County of Pirkanmaa, Tarja Laitinen (forename.surname (at), Joint Authority HUS, Southwest Finland Wellbeing Services County, Fimea (Fimea news release 22 May 2023)

Completed projects

Drug trial bottlenecks in wellbeing services counties

The project was initiated by the finding that the number of clinical drug trials of pharmaceutical companies were declining in the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (currently HUS-yhtymä). The project assessed the reasons for this worrying trend and proposed corrective measures.

The decline in drug trials is a nationwide phenomenon and is therefore not limited to HUS. The key obstacle identified was the lack of resources in terms of doctors and nurses carrying out the trials. This is due to HUS’s internal capacity to attract researches and to the scarcity of public funding throughout the country. National approaches have not been implemented and no comprehensive, joint plans have been developed to improve the operating environment. The proposed measures are linked to addressing these shortcomings.

More information: Sitra’s article, HUS media release (8 May 2023, in Finnish) and HUS report (in Finnish)

Project party and contact person: HUS, Pirkko Lepola, pirkko.lepola (at)

Streamlining the use of patient data for treatment and research

The need for and importance of everyday patient data and the research evidence derived from it have increased in health sciences research, and as part of individual patient treatment and knowledge management. The sharing and integration of real-time patient data opens up excellent opportunities for improving treatment, but currently remains a challenge. Data can only be used in research if it is complete, comprehensive and structurally expressed using standardised international concepts.

The project investigated how patient material could be better used in health care in the wellbeing services county of Southwest Finland and be included in international co-operation projects. The project developed a solution, an algorithm, to automatically import data from the wellbeing services county’s patient systems to databases in a structured format and to maintain future prescriptions as structured data.

As a spin-off of the project, was the development of a national OMOP data model (Observational Medical Outcomes Partnership), which expresses data in an internationally standardised way. This supports the accession of the wellbeing services county to the DARWIN project launched by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) as a data partner. The aim is for the wellbeing services county to be able to respond to the research requests from EMA quickly and with high quality. The OMOP data model will open up Finland’s high-quality data sources in a new way for international co-operation projects, both academic and commercial.

Project party and contact person: TYKS Turku University Hospital, Minna Blomster, minna.blomster (at)

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