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My Kanta Pages is a corner-stone of digital revolution in Finnish health care
In 2019 Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Denmark scored the highest according to the Digital Economy and Society Index of the European Commission. These countries are followed by the United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Ireland, Estonia and Belgium.
Easy access to personal health information has long been on the ‘wish lists’ of patients and their advocates, for obvious reasons. A nationally shared, widely accessible electronic health record has powerful symbolic meanings. However, patients are offered an access to their own health data on a national level only in a few countries, such as Australia, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Iceland, New Zealand, Norway, Scotland, Singapore and Sweden. Online e-services in healthcare and social welfare services are usually patient portals that are owned by healthcare organizations.
Sweden became one of the first countries to use e-prescriptions in early-1980s, electronic patient journals are available for patients since early-2000s and patients as well as physicians generally have expressed satisfaction with the e-health system. Denmark launched the national e-health portal Sundhed in early-2000s and the E-Journal national repository of record information from all public hospitals in late-2000s.
In 2007, e-services that the Finns desired, such as access to laboratory test information, appointment scheduling or repeated prescription renewal, were in short and nobody had the possibility to view his or her own provider-centric electronic medical/health records. In 2014, the most asked online services were still an access to laboratory and medical imaging results, patient records, prescription data and prescription renewal. In contrast, in 2017 many had already used multiple such online services which they also considered useful in general.
Kanta services is the name of the Finnish national digital data system services that form a unique service entity based on legislation effective since July 2007. Finnish health professionals have positive expectations about the national patient portal My Kanta Pages, launched in 2010. Practically the entire electronic patient journals are available for patients through the portal. All medicine prescriptions except medicines prescribed during hospital admissions are available through My Kanta Pages.
In Finland, the issuing of e-prescriptions was made obligatory in public healthcare in 2013 and in private healthcare in 2015. Since January 2017, all healthcare providers are obliged to introduce the e-prescription system. Community pharmacy customers are familiar and very satisfied with the national service and general practitioners report that e-prescribing has improved their patient medication management.
Half of the Finnish population in general, and two out of three adults had used My Kanta Pages by 31 December 2018. Since nine years after its launch, the adults’ use of the Finnish national My Kanta Pages is still increasing and will approach 50% annual use level. One may call this success.
Vesa Jormanainen, MD, MSc, Specialist in Public Health
Chief Specialist, National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), Finland