In order to ensuring the continuity of care, it is important that healthcare professionals abroad have access to their Finnish patients’ up-to-date health data. As of early 2024, Finns can give their consent to the sharing of their patient data with Estonian healthcare providers for the purpose of their treatment. If the consent has been given, professionals in Estonia can quickly access key information regarding the patient’s state of health, if necessary.
Patient data can be shared between Finnish and Estonian health care providers when a patient seeks treatment in Estonia, provided they have given consent to the data sharing in MyKanta. The arrangement does not give Estonian health care professionals direct access to Finnish medical records.
At a later stage, data can also be exchanged electronically and securely to other parts of Europe and from Europe to Finland with the help of Kanta Services. The exchange of patient data across European borders improves the continuity of care and patient safety in Finland. This will be particularly beneficial to patients who need urgent care travelling abroad and those moving from one country to another.
Rapid and centralised access to key patient data
In Finland, patient data transmitted to Estonia is collected from health and medication data stored in Kanta Services. The database can be used to share data with Estonian health care provider on, for example, a patient’s allergies, medication and diagnoses.
The electronic transmission of data across borders takes place through Patient Summaries. Patient Summary is a summary of the patient’s key health data. The healthcare professional can see from the summary a limited amount of patient data that has previously been recorded about the patient in Finland.
The data will later also be available for exchange between other countries in Europe and Finland
Elsewhere in the EU, Finnish Patient Summaries will be utilised in stages in accordance with the countries’ own schedules. The European Commission’s goal is for the Patient Summary to be available in most EU Member States by 2026 at the latest. The long-term goal is for countries to be able to communicate to each other via, for example, medical images and laboratory results.
Kela estimates that Kanta will be able to transfer patient data from other EU countries to Finnish healthcare in early 2025. The transmitted information is visible to the healthcare professional, translated into Finnish. However, Finnish healthcare organisations will decide for themselves as to when they will start utilising Patient Summaries.
Kanta participates in EU-wide development of eHealth services
The EU countries first launched the collaborative effort to improve the flow of health data in 2019 with the introduction of cross-border ePrescriptions. Medicines can currently be purchased with a Finnish electronic prescription from pharmacies in Estonia, Croatia and Portugal. The Patient Summary is the next step in the development of cross-border eHealth services across the EU.
Kela is actively co-operating with other EU countries with the aim of creating efficient systems and uniform practices for the smooth exchange of health data in Europe. In Finland, Kela’s Kanta Services act as a local contact point that enables national electronic health systems to exchange data. The development work is funded by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the EU4Health programme.
- Take medicines and prescriptions abroad (kanta.fi)
- Health services abroad
- Electronic cross-border health services (health.ec.europa.eu)