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Under-Secretary: Health care reform IT system overhaul coming late

Finland's upcoming social service and health care reform (known by the contraction "sote") requires a massive communications system update that now seems unlikely to be ready until next decade. The government maintains that the reform will be in place by 2019.

Tuomas Pöysti
Brand new IT systems are needed for the sote reform, but will not make it in time for the launch, the Under-Secretary says. Image: Tiina Jutila / Yle

Under-Secretary of State Tuomas Pöysti says that the IT systems update required by the coming social service and health care reform will not be ready until early next decade, too late for the start of the reform's launch.

Pöysti says that the reform will initially have to be instituted using old systems, leading to inefficient information transfer and care.

The update is needed to broaden the current Kanta health records database, available to all Finnish patients, as well as to streamline information exchange between different systems.

The IT service should also come to include the opportunity to compare and contrast health service providers online.

Challenges persist

The so-called "sote" reform intends to instate the new 18-region health care network in 2019, by which time the Under-Secretary now says that the necessary IT changes will not yet be ready.

Lapland's hospital district chief Jari Jokela says that bringing the IT systems in line with the particulars of the reform is a substantial challenge due to the fractured nature of Finland's three-decades-old communications structure.

Parliament’s Constitutional Law committee presented a report in 2015 that rejected the broad reform of health and social care. The committee said that the proposals will need substantial changes to comply with the constitution.

Read more about "sote" here: Yle News explains: What is Sote?

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