Finland: Healthcare system and eHealth strategy

Basic data

  • 338,000 square km
  • Population 5,4 million
  • 18 inhabitants per square km

Healthcare system

Municipal health care services, implemented with government support, form the basis of the health care system. Private companies also provide services alongside the public sector.
Public services are funded mainly by tax revenues collected by the state and municipalities.

Healthcare organisation

• Municipalities (over 300) are responsible for organizing primary health care and specialized medical care.
• 20 municipality owned hospital districts and  appr. 160 health care centres
• Some specialised medical care services are organized on the basis of special responsibility areas of university hospital.
• Employers organize preventive occupational health care.
• Private health care appr 25%

A significant reform in the next few years is under way (by the year 2019). In the reform, social welfare and health care services will be integrated within the same organization from the basic level all the way to demanding special services.

Instead of an organization-centred, fragmented service culture, the emphasis will be on the client’s needs and freedom of choice as the main premise of service provision.

Healthcare insurance system

The National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme is part of the Finnish social security system. NHI will reimburse varying levels all registered citizens for treatment by doctors, dental care, hospital examination and treatment.

The NHI also partially reimburses occupational healthcare costs for services delivered to employees, but not to dependents.

Additional voluntary health insurance has a very marginal role in the Finnish system.

Number of general practitioners, dentists and hospitals

• Physicians 21 404
• Dentists 4 500 (in active practice)
• Nurses (incl. public health nurses and midwifes) 73 664
• 5 university hospitals,
• 15 central hospitals,
   around 40 smaller specialised hospitals and
   around 160 primary health care centers

eHealth services already used

The National Archive of Health Information (KanTa) is intended to serve health care professionals and all users of health care services.

Services enabled by KanTa include:
• electronic prescriptions,
• an archive of patient records, and
• a function for viewing one's own health information online.

Moreover Finland has successfully developed a wide diversity of technology based services in different areas of health care (e.g. mental health care, home care, health coaching, video consultation of physicians and nurses)