Kuopio's healthcare establishments (namely the Harjula outpatient clinic's reception, asthma and diabetes units, and the homecare and nursing units of Puijonlaakso service centre) will be the first ones to access and use the nation-wide healthcare information network.
The staff of the units involved in the pilot will log gradually (and be able to access) the following patient information in the eArkisto system: personal data, medical records, diagnoses, summaries, lab test results, X-ray images as well as referrals, medication information and risks of medical concerns, etc.
The patient data thus stored will be made accessible to the patient and the staff of the participating healthcare units, while the patient's separate consent will be required to grant access to their information to administrative units.
The eArkisto system is expected to improve the flow of information relating to patient treatment as healthcare staff will view the patient's information immediately, and thus avoid duplicate exams and treatment.
Patients will be able to view their own medical records in eArkisto through the website of KanTa, the National Archive of Health Information, at www.kanta.fi. When a person wishes to make use of this service, their identity will be verified.
Since 2008, the city of Kuopio has been committed to serve as a testing ground for the eArkisto system. The technical testing started in autumn 2009, while the archiving client testing and the production deployment project were launched by the city's social affairs and healthcare department in July 2010.
"We planned the use of the necessary electronic archives, we documented them and we implemented the measures required from the organisations joining the eArkisto service. The pilot phase will last from 15 November 2011 to 15 February 2012. Our goal is to continue and expand the use of eArkisto after the pilot phase," said project leader at the City of Kuopio, Pauli Kuosmanen.
The Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is responsible for the eArkisto strategy, legal aspects and inter-sectoral collaboration. The National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) is in charge of operational and functional specifications, as well as processes.
The social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela) is responsible for communication with citizens, as well as for the system's technical implementation, testing and specifications. To introduce eArkisto, Kuopio also received support from a software provider as well as the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira).
The Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities (Kunnat) has been supporting healthcare organisations in the use of ePrescription since its introduction. For instance, the Association has been producing operations models and training material. As from 1 January 2012, such responsibility will be transferred to THL.
The deployment of the eArkisto system will be performed gradually in different parts of Finland, and patient information will be logged in it under different stages too. Kuopio's experience will benefit other authorities when the use of the system is expanded.
Finnish law provides for the compulsory use of the system by September 2014 for public healthcare centres, and by September 2015 for private ones.