Guidance of information management in healthcare and social welfare

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is responsible for the general planning, guidance and monitoring of information management within its administrative branch and for the financing of significant national projects. Each year the Ministry updates the development paths for national information management and guides their implementation together with regional operators and key stakeholders.

In practice, the guidance of information management in healthcare and social welfare means, among other things, digital services for self-management of health and other digital services which are well integrated and where client and patient information flows smoothly from one service to another. It also means knowledge-based management. 

The Ministry provides the wellbeing services counties with the strategic objectives for information management, conducts annual negotiations with each of them and approves their large-scale information system procurements as part of their investment plans. In addition, the Ministry provides guidance for the government agencies and public bodies within its administrative branch as part of the normal performance guidance and, in certain special cases, within the framework of project agreements.

The aim of national guidance is to promote digitalisation, digital security and effective management. The methods of guidance include: 1) law drafting, 2) funding of development measures and 3) promotion of cooperation.

At the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the steering function for information management is located in the Unit for Digitalisation and Information Management under the Department for Steering of Healthcare and Social Welfare.

Other key operators in information management in healthcare and social welfare

Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare is responsible for planning, guiding and monitoring the electronic processing of client data in healthcare and social welfare and the related information management as well as the use and implementation of national information system services (Kanta Services) and joint national data resources specific to individual administrative branches. 

The Institute also conducts an annual assessment of wellbeing services counties, maintains their registers and acts as the statistical authority for them. 

The Institute has the power to issue regulations on operators which can apply, for example, to client and patient data and the recording of such data as well as to information systems used to process client data.

Findata is an independent social and health data permit authority operating in conjunction with the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, which grants permits for the secondary use of health and social data and supervises compliance with the conditions of the permits it has granted.

National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira)

The National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira) maintains a public register of healthcare and social welfare information systems and wellbeing applications and supervises that the client and patient information systems are compliant with the relevant requirements. 

In addition, it maintains registers of healthcare and social welfare professionals and their rights to practise a profession (healthcare role and attribute services).

Finnish Medicines Agency (Fimea)

The Finnish Medicines Agency (Fimea) supervises the pharmaceutical sector and its safety. 

Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela)

The Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela) is responsible for implementing the Kanta Services and ensuring the information security of data stored in the Services. The Kanta Services include the My Kanta Pages, the Prescription Centre and the national information resources for patient data and social welfare client data.

DigiFinland Oy

DigiFinland Oy is a state-owned company entrusted with a special assignment to support and develop national digital services for improving the productivity and effectiveness of healthcare and social welfare, rescue services and other sectors, and the adoption of such digital services, as well as the use of the nationwide e-services of public authorities. The company also promotes ICT integration and interoperability, knowledge-based management and customer-oriented and cost-effective services in the public sector, along with digitalisation.

As regards information management in healthcare and social welfare, the company’s role is to act as a link between central government and the wellbeing services counties, engage in dialogue and identify joint development areas that are of national importance. In the current situation, the company maintains and further develops a number of services that are central to the digitalisation of healthcare and social welfare. The most well-known of these services are the Omaolo.fi service and the Medical Helpline 116 117.

Wellbeing services counties

Wellbeing services counties are self-governing public entities responsible for the organisation of health, social and rescue services and for the related information management, excluding such duties that are assigned to the national authorities by law. 

National cooperation groups

National cooperation group for information management in healthcare and social welfare

The national cooperation group for information management in healthcare and social welfare meets twice a year to discuss strategic issues regarding the digitalisation of healthcare and social welfare.  Heads of wellbeing services counties and key national operators have been invited to take part in the group.

National steering group for information management in healthcare and social welfare

The national steering group for information management in healthcare and social welfare guides the national project portfolio of information management in healthcare and social welfare (e.g. development of the Kanta Services). The steering group discusses the project plans for new projects and the progress reports on the ongoing projects and, in particular, examines significant deviations and risks. The members of the group include chief information officers from wellbeing services counties and key national operators.

Enterprise architecture groups

National cooperation in the enterprise architecture for healthcare and social welfare is promoted by enterprise architecture groups. The groups are tasked with planning and setting objectives and guidelines for enterprise architecture and deciding on the priority areas for development.

Key legislation on documents and information management in healthcare and social welfare 

The Acts relevant for the guidance of information management in healthcare and social welfare are:

Further information

Minna Saario, Deputy Director General 
Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Department for Steering of Healthcare and Social Welfare / OHO, Digitalisaation ja tiedonhallinnan yksikkö DITI 0295163146