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Finland and Estonia start sharing patient data


On 10 May last year, Estonian and Finnish Prime Ministers digitally signed a joint declaration on an initial roadmap for launching data exchange and e-services between Estonia and Finland. It was also agreed that, by the end of 2016, specific action plans would be completed for launching automatic data exchange in the field of commercial registers, population registers, social benefit data, e-prescriptions and maritime affairs.

Both countries will make their databases mutually available, which will allow for cross-border access to digital prescriptions by 2017-2018 and full patient medical history by 2018-2019. This step should increase the quality of healthcare in both countries, as doctors and patients will have access to all the data needed, on the spot.

“People move around more and more therefore data about their health should always be with them. This way they’re able to use the best services from different countries, or live where they desire, without the loss of important healthcare services,” said the Deputy Secretary General on E-services Development and Innovation Ain Aaviksoo.

“The United States and several Asian countries are also interested in the e-health system and its support services developed in Estonia. At the same time, our ICT-infrastructure and our citizens’ mentality towards an information society, including the healthcare sector, is most similar to the Nordic countries,” Aaviksoo explained. “Ensuring privacy and security starts with giving people real control over their healthcare data. Actually, this could be made to suit any country’s combination of law, information technology, and information management applications. The only real technological challenge is the lack of standards to connect all of the necessary data in a suiting way, but in my opinion, this is a question of political will.”