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New act to regulate the processing of client data in healthcare and social welfare

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
Publication date 27.10.2022 13.27
Press release 250/2022

The Government proposes to reform the regulation on the processing of client data in healthcare and social welfare and to enact a new Act on the Electronic Processing of Client Data in Healthcare and Social Welfare for this purpose.

The Act would bring together provisions on data protection and secrecy, right of access to information, disclosure of client data, document processing, client and patient documentation as well as national information systems and information management guidance.

The new Act would also lay down provisions on the implementation a national medication list in the Kanta Services Prescription Centre, where professionals and patients themselves could view patient medication. The Act would harmonise and clarify regulation on the disclosure of client and patient information and on the right to access information. It would improve regulation on the right of access to information between healthcare and social welfare and lay down provisions on how to process patient data recorded in social welfare services. This would include creating permanent provisions on how patient data is disclosed between the wellbeing services counties of Uusimaa, the City of Helsinki and the joint county authority for the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa.   

The Act should form a clear, uniform, harmonised and comprehensive package that can correct some of the shortcomings in the current legislation. The new and updated Act would meet the requirements of the Finnish Constitution and the European General Data Protection Regulation. The Act’s provisions on the processing of client data and client and patient documentation would support the development of the healthcare and social welfare service system and services, and the integration of healthcare and social welfare, i.e. the ability of the healthcare and social welfare services to form a coherent system that functions effectively from a client perspective.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health has drafted the proposals for the Act on the Electronic Processing of Client Data in Healthcare and Social Welfare as part of the Ministry's official duties. The government bill also contains a number of other acts, which will be amended by the new Act. These amendments are mainly technical in nature. The acts are due to enter into force on 1 January 2024.

Why the new Act?

The current legislation is fragmented and partly outdated. This has made the application and reconciliation of acts challenging. The regulation does not fully comply with the requirements of Finland’s Constitution and the General Data Protection Regulation. New technology and the opportunities it offers have also revealed new regulatory needs. In particular, changes are required in the processing of client and patient data, and in the disclosure of data between health and social services and in joint services.

Inquiries

Joni Komulainen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 2951 63453
Anna Kärkkäinen, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 2951 63702 (from 3 November 2022)
Ari Jansen, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 2951 63741  (medication list)
Tiina Satti, Lawyer, tel. +358 2951 63411  (medication list)

Email addresses are in the format [email protected]

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