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HEALTH CARE

The population is ageing, and health care costs are increasing. Equal access to high-quality health services must nevertheless be ensured for everyone. Sitra’s Health Care Programme (2005–2009) found new ways to do this.

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Fairness, freedom of choice and structural changes

The Finnish healthcare system is in the early stages of a long development process. The population is ageing, the number of people with chronic diseases is increasing, healthcare spending is increasing. How to make the money and resources go round is the foremost question.

How can we best harness the existing capacity of the system serve the increasing health needs of the population – without sacrificing access to care, the quality of care or fairness?

The key answers to these questions were highlighted in the Health Care Programme (2005–2009) and were: by increasing transparency, shifting to performance guidance, encouraging customers to be active and increasing their freedom of choice. This way efficiency and quality would fuel one another.

  • A firmer grasp on the assessment of the need for care is needed in primary healthcare. Care should be increasingly directed according to the targeted treatment outcomes, at the same time considering whether the provided care truly supports better health.
  • New technologies should be widely introduced in order to improve transparency and productivity.
  • The goal was to empower customers by providing tools for self-care and for increasing the freedom of choice.

Costs and treatment outcomes must be made transparent so that those who make care decisions can choose the best practices. The current healthcare system is fragmented, and thus savings achieved in one sector may easily lead to higher costs in another.

During the programme, it became increasingly clear that in addition to individual actions, the development of the healthcare system requires fundamental structural changes.

In order to achieve its challenging goals and momentum for change, the key players in the sector where closely involved in the programme. Many of the actions launched during the course of the programme have been taken forward by different ministries, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation Tekes, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela), Finland’s Slot Machine Association (RAY) and several companies, as well as forward-thinking local authorities.

At Sitra, the work to increase the productivity of local governments and to reform the structures for service production continues in the Municipal Programme, launched in 2009.

Contact information

  • Hannu Hanhijärvi, Executive Director
  • Mirja Gröhn, Director
  • Kimmo Haahkola, Director
  • Timo Haikonen, Director
  • Jussi Huttunen, Senior Adviser
  • Marja Illi, Services Director
  • Susan Packalén, Programme Assistant
  • Anu Löfhjelm, Programme Assistant
  • Liisa Lehikoinen, Programme Assistant
  • Virpi Pyykkö, Consultant
  • Elina Antila, Communications Consultant

The programme team was assembled for the duration of the programme only. More information on the programme is available from Sitra’s Communications on-call service, tel. +358 40 548 0794.