Second report from Juha Rannanheimo, Chief Development Officer, UNA Core – OpenEHR-based data exchange in Finland
Social welfare and healthcare reform in Finland - A new social welfare and healthcare system in Finland is under development. Although proposed reform has faced challenges, the need for the reform is evident. It is estimated that by 2030 some 26% of the Finnish population will be older than 65 years, and service needs are growing. The aim of reform is to offer the population more equal access to services, to reduce disparities in health and wellbeing, and to contain costs.
While legislation is still in process, organisations are doing things already. They aim to improve service coordination, integrate healthcare and social welfare services, and better manage service chains. And linked to all that, there is now many digital transformation projects.
Development focus right now - UNA is ICT development collaboration for public social and healthcare organisations, improving productivity and efficiency in social and healthcare by planning, managing and resourcing collaboration projects on behalf of hospital districts and municipalities.
Majority of social and healthcare organisations in Finland aim to renew their systems by modular development ways. Modular development means that organizations add new functionality on top of existing systems in phases, and also make replacements of existing systems on a stepwise manner. This approach makes it possible to focus the development on the functional and operational needs of users and organizations in an affordable manner.
UNAs mission is to support and reform social and healthcare practices bottom-up by the means of sharing data to service coordination. There is needs for better use and visualize health and social care data – provide summaries and snapshots – in and between social and health care. At present, all the necessary information is not sufficiently available.
We are working with implementation of UNA Core including UNA Dashboard. UNA Core includes the main integration and data management elements, which also create new possibilities to the future development. UNA dashboard (GUI) supplies a snapshot of up-to-date information for health and social care professionals.
At the same time this is one step moving towards more modern, open architecture and data management.
The role of openEHR in new solutions - Kanta, the national digital services for the social and healthcare sector, is one of the examples of the excellence of electronic data management in Finland. Kanta services include, among other things, the archive for medical records and prescriptions. The usability of document based Kanta data is, however, limited and Kanta doesn’t cover all data. There remains still data in regional and local sources.
So, we are focusing to sharing data and processing, structuring, and presenting it in a meaningful way. It means ability to combine data from different sources. We want to do this in a sustainable way. For that reason, openEHR as a harmonized data model fits plans well. To standardise the content of data is essential when it is delivered to users, in the future also to provide decision support service or AI processing. OpenEHR avoids dependencies on system vendors. It also adds transparency for data and speeds up the process of building open and documented interfaces.
UNA Core combines data transparency with security and protection requirements, access rights and data logging implemented in accordance with legislation and authority recommendations.
Solutions will be available this year, creating new opportunities for service and care coordination. Four pilot organisations with slightly different use cases are prepared to deploy solutions first. The project team is currently preparing for acceptance testing and refining regional deployment capabilities. The first deployments provide experiences for other co-operation organisations and further development. Next, we will start to develop better opportunities to plan, monitor and manage the treatments and services provided by different actors and organisations.
Juha Rannanheimo, Chief Development Officer, UNA