University of Oulu

Ruotanen, R., Kangas, M., Tuovinen, T., Keränen, N., Haverinen, J., & Reponen, J. (2021). Finnish e-health services intended for citizens – national and regional development . Finnish Journal of EHealth and EWelfare, 13(3), 283–301.

Finnish e-health services intended for citizens : national and regional development

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Author: Ruotanen, Ronja1; Kangas, Maarit1; Tuovinen, Timo1,2;
Organizations: 1FinnTelemedicum, Research Unit of Medical Imaging, Physics and Technology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, Finland
2Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
3Finnish Coordinating Center for Health Technology Assessment (FinCCHTA), Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 4.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Finnish Social and Health Informatics Association, 2021
Publish Date: 2022-01-03


Electronic health care (e-health) services intended for Finnish citizens have been recently developed nationally, regionally, and locally through several projects and programs. This study aimed to investigate the development and availability of e-health services for Finnish citizens in specialized and primary health care and private medical service providers from 2011 to 2020. In addition, the differences between the availability of services in different sectors and regional differences between hospital districts were investigated.

Data were collected using web-based questionnaires in 2011, 2014, 2017, and 2020 from “Use of information and communication technology surveys in Finnish health care”. This study covers all 21 hospital districts, nearly all primary health care centers, and a sample of private medical service providers. Quantitative data were analyzed using SPSS software (version 25). The availability of an e-health service was calculated as a percentage of all respondents in each sector.

The results of this study show that public and private health care organizations extensively offered health care services on their websites. Almost all organizations had information on well-being, provided services, contact methods, and locations, as well as options to send electronic feedback. Remote consultation, electronic appointment booking services, and telephone counseling were also extensively offered. This study revealed that the volume of e-health services increased from 2011 to 2020. For instance, remote consultation services and information exchange through encrypted email increased rapidly during follow-up periods in all service sectors. Comparing service sectors revealed that specialized health care covers e-health services more extensively than do primary health care and private service providers. According to this study, there are also clear differences in the availability of services between hospital districts and no hospital district offered all studied services. These results suggest the need to clarify national and regional development responsibilities and standardize the availability of e-health services within and between hospital districts.

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Series: Finnish Journal of eHealth and eWelfare
ISSN: 1798-0798
ISSN-E: 1798-0798
ISSN-L: 1798-0798
Volume: 13
Issue: 3
Pages: 283 - 301
DOI: 10.23996/fjhw.109778
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3121 General medicine, internal medicine and other clinical medicine
113 Computer and information sciences
Funding: The study is part of the national “Monitoring and Evaluation of Social and Health Care Information System Services” (STEPS 3.0) research project. STEPS 3.0 is co-funded by Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (STM) and participants and coordinated by the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).
Copyright information: © 2021 Finnish Journal of eHealth and eWelfare. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.