Secure data management

Secure health data handling in Finland, data transfer between health officials, data transmission security issues, and data lakes.

General information about secure health data handling in Finland

Both social and health data is classified as being confidential. Anyone outside the health organisations has no right to access his/her data unless he/she gives consent otherwise. Social care and health officials have signed Non Disclosure Agreement regarding customer/patient data.

Patient (or customer) has the right to know: for which purpose his/her data is used; what other data sources are used if any; where the data is stored; who has right to access the data. (ref. Sosiaali- ja Terveysministeriö).

Patient and customer has right to look to his/her data collection, and demand corrections to be done.

Data and information transfer between other health officials

Inside Hospital Care District (Sairaanhoitopiiri) health care centers (Terveyskeskus) have right to exchange customer/patient data when the data exchange is needed for care (unless customer/patient declines that right). Even in that case, the data is accessible only by social/health care officials.

Data transmission security issues

In social and health care domain, there is a national initiative to change to unified digital data exchange systems. Common archiving and transmission systems increase the patient data security, since it becomes much easier to arrange information exchange to happen in a secure manner. For example, the data exchange between Kanta-service and Pharmacies can only happen if Kanta-service knows the other party and vice versa (requires pre-registration), and data encryption is used when transmitting data in either direction.


Data lakes

Data lake is a large pool containing data in various formats. For example, Helsinki University Hospital (in Finnish: HUS) has stored vast amount of past patient data (the data lake is updated regularly with new data) together with a health data consultant and IT systems provider company.

The data lake itself does not cure any patient, nor does it provide meaningful data. The data lake requires application interface so that the data, which a researcher of a health care person needs, is readily available.

Data lakes in Finland:



Data collection coverage

Web site



Clinical data collected at HUS


Turku University Hospital (TYKS). Service also available to the Hospital Districts of Satakunta and Vaasa

Southwest Finland (Varsinais-Suomi) Hospital District



Kuopio University Hospital District