“We have reached nearly 100% coverage with electronic prescriptions now,”

RIGA, LATVIA – (HIMSS Insights / Online-only) - After having had some trouble with its national ehealth infrastructure efforts, Finland is now proud of being more than on track with its healthcare system going digital.

Maritta Korhonen, Head of Development in the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, offered an overview on recent successes and remaining challenges in its national eHealth programme. This programme is widely considered as one of the most advanced of its kind in Europe. There is, for example, a national eArchive called KanTa that allows doctors of nearly all public hospitals and primary care centres to access patient data cross-institutionally. 

“What we are particularly proud of is our eAccess services,” said Korhonen who spoke at the Health Information Exchange session at this year’s eHealth Week currently taking place in Riga, Latvia. These services include giving patients access to their electronic health records and making prescriptions available digitally.

According to Korhonen, the website that provides the eAccess services has gained considerable popularity in Finland. It is now among the top ten websites in the Finnish language, she said. If true, this would be pretty unique, not only in Europe but globally.

A large part of this success goes back to electronic prescriptions: “We have reached nearly 100% coverage with electronic prescriptions now,” said Korhonen. She announced that at the beginning of 2017, paper-based prescriptions will be banned totally in Finland, placing the country once again in a leading position.

But not even in Finland, is everything perfect. One issue that the country will have to deal with in the years to come is its rapidly ageing legacy systems. “Many of the electronic patient record systems in hospitals and primary care centres are old-fashioned and have to be replaced,” Korhonen said. Furthermore, major structural reforms of the expensive Finnish healthcare system are lurking on the horizon that the new IT system will also have to deal with. The digital transformation of Finnish healthcare is ongoing, it seems.

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Source: HIMSS Insights (ONLINE ONLY)

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