A supply consortium has kicked off a project with the aim to build an electronic patient record system and electronic prescription centre. Kela (The Social Insurance Institution of Finland) and Fujitsu Services Oy signed an agreement in September on the delivery of the massive nation-wide project. The consortium, headed by Fujitsu, includes SYSOPENDIGIA Oyj, whose area of responsibility covers messaging services, and Neagen Oy, which will implement a data transmission solution for a medical image archive.
The overall value of the national patient record system is approximately twenty million euros.
The system will, among other things, incorporate the archiving and transmission services of patient data and prescriptions, and a technical code service. Also, each citizen will be able to view their personal patient data.
With the new system, healthcare professionals will have access to same patient data across Finland. The data entered in healthcare unit -specific systems will automatically and immediately be archived also in the national patient record system. In other words, there will be no duplication of effort. Prescriptions will also be delivered electronically, which facilitates their prescribing and dispensing processes. The system will also effectively prevent abuse.
Data security is one of the most pivotal areas in the project. Access to the patient record system is restricted to persons with a certificate granted by the National Authority for Medicolegal Affairs. The Fujitsu-developed mPollux authentication service will be used for user identification. Electronic signatures will be implemented with a digital signature product supplied by Avain Technologies Oy. Compared to the traditional paper archives, the security of the electronic system is better also because accessing the system always leaves a trail. The application platform is built on EMC's Documentum content management system.
Unique achievement on a global scale "This is a significant step in developing electronic healthcare services in Finland. The system we are building is unique even globally speaking. This is a very important and challenging project for Fujitsu, requiring close collaboration with the IT companies involved in the consortium," says Director Leena-Mari Lähteenmaa of Fujitsu. "Our image archive solution is based on global standards. We accept the challenge willingly, delighted by the national appreciation for the Finnish knowledge of the image archiving and DICOM standard(*," says Managing Director Lasse Jyrkinen of Neagen.
SYSOPENDIGIA's area of responsibility in this project lies in the messaging services. Messaging provides an interface which will enable the national healthcare information systems to be connected to the patient record system. The technical implementation is based on the IBM WebSphere product family.
"This project is a remarkable opening for SYSOPENDIGIA in the healthcare sector. Our collaboration with Fujitsu is evidence of our ability to operate in different supply consortiums with our wide expertise," Director Ari Nuutinen of SYSOPENDIGIA says.
Electronic prescription system will be operational within a year The information systems will be built over two years. During the first stage, systems related to the implementation of electronic prescription transmission will be built, enabling the transmission of the first electronic prescriptions in the autumn of 2008. At the second stage, an electronic patient record will be built, with its implementation scheduled to begin at the end of 2008. In 2009, the patient data system will be complemented with an image archive, containing radiograms, for example.
The system will be adopted by all pharmacies as well as both the public and private healthcare by April 2011. The number of users will be substantial as there are approximately 800 pharmacies, and around 1,000 public health care units in Finland. In addition, there are thousands of private medical practices. Public healthcare units are obliged by law to adopt the system by 2011, and the same applies to private practices which archive patient data electronically. They will all have a four-year transition period in deploying the national patient record system. The citizens will have benefit from the system as soon as it is widely adopted by the healthcare units and pharmacies.
The patient record system, once it is completed, will be Finland's largest repository, the size of which is estimated to reach as much as 500 petabytes over the upcoming years (one petabyte = one thousand terabytes or one million gigabytes.).
* DICOM = Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine. A global communication standard for medical image communication and storage.
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