Finnish social insurance institution Kela extends the national patient portal

Since 1937, the Finnish social security institution Kela has provided social insurance services to Finnish citizens. The organisation has a total of 6,000 employees. Since 2010, it has also worked as the national eHealth hub, providing the e-Prescription service, Patient data repository and a national patient portal where citizens can view their health information. The patient portal named “My Kanta pages” is currently a highly popular online service, ranked as the 3rd most appreciated and recommended network brand in Finland. Kela is currently developing the portal by enabling citizens to store their own health-related information. The exchange of information is based on HL7 FHIR. Kela uses Furore’s Simplifier to make optimal use of FHIR. 

The most important reason for the creation of national health exchange infrastructure is to provide health care professionals with up-to-date patient health care information, so they can provide top-quality health care. When data is stored in the national Patient data repository, citizens can view it online. The national patient portal enables people to get better information about their health conditions, and empower them to better participate in improving their health. The next goal is to enable storing data by citizens themselves. 

During the FHIR Dev Days (Kela is a member of HL7 Finland) Kela came into contact with Simplifier.net, the Furore platform for using FHIR. Konstantin Hyppönen, IT architect at Kela: Hyppönen: “Simplifier.net had not been on the market for very long – we are one of their launching customers – but we immediately saw the possibilities and benefits of the platform.”

Kela is currently right in the middle of the development process for the new features of the patient portal. The aim is to launch it at the end of 2017. An important step in that direction was the opening of a sandbox environment, which was finished early 2016. A new milestone in the project was reached recently, adding authorization and security features to the sandbox environment. Hyppönen: “Software vendors can now register their applications in the sandbox and provide them with fine-tuned rights for storing and accessing the data. That is precisely the approach of this entire project: Kela provides the basis of the new data repository, including the security model, but after that it is up to the market to create applications. HL7 FHIR supports us in this.”