How does Finland use health and social data for the public benefit?

Karolina Mackiewicz at ICT & Health: “…Better innovation opportunities, quicker access to comprehensive ready-combined data, smoother permit procedures needed for research – those are some of the benefits for society, academia or business announced by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health of Finland when the Act on the Secondary Use of Health and Social Data was introduced.

It came into force on 1st of May 2019. According to the Finnish Innovation Fund SITRA, which was involved in the development of the legislation and carried out the pilot projects, it’s a ‘groundbreaking’ piece of legislation. It’ not only effectively introduces a one-stop-shop for data but it’s also one of the first, if not the first, implementations of the GDPR (the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation) for the secondary use of data in Europe. 

The aim of the Act is “to facilitate the effective and safe processing and access to the personal social and health data for steering, supervision, research, statistics and development in the health and social sector”. A second objective is to guarantee an individual’s legitimate expectations as well as their rights and freedoms when processing personal data. In other words, the Ministry of Health promises that the Act will help eliminate the administrative burden in access to the data by the researchers and innovative businesses while respecting the privacy of individuals and providing conditions for the ethically sustainable way of using data….(More)”.