Managing Director of Tietoevry Care, Ari Järvelä, shares his thoughts.
According to a study commissioned by Finland’s Sitra Innovation Fund, the country’s healthcare system can save hundreds of millions of euros each year by using data and artificial intelligence in the right way. At the same time, thousands of doctors and nurses would be able to concentrate more on the actual work of caring for patients.
For example, artificial intelligence can make it easier for caregivers to search for and sort through information in the jungle of healthcare platforms and systems they use. AI can help to surface the right information at the right time, without caregivers needing to jump from one information system to another. This is useful in light of the nursing-staff shortages increasingly affecting Finland, as it enables caregivers to focus on patients rather than on admin work. It makes work more meaningful too.
The use of artificial intelligence and data also enables us to shift the focus from specialized medical care to preventive healthcare. By analyzing large amounts of data, AI has been able to predict rare diseases long before symptoms cause damage. A doctor can quickly confirm a diagnosis made by artificial intelligence, and the patient can immediately begin to receive the right kind of preventive treatment.
Today, we have huge amounts of data at our disposal. But what about the quality of that data? And how can we use it all as efficiently as possible?
It’s a struggle to manage separate masses of information. Data from different sources may be in different formats, making cross-utilization a challenge. In fact, the smooth transfer of data between different systems is one of the biggest IT challenges in the healthcare sector. For example, one of Finland’s wellbeing services counties has 40 different systems in use. Many of these systems are incapable of communicating together, making data transfer from one welfare area to another a huge challenge. Transferring data between the private and public healthcare service providers is not easy either.
At Tietoevry, we have been working together with our partners for a long time to enable the efficient utilization of data. One concrete example is our data-lake solution, which quickly brings together essential information from the different source systems used for healthcare and social-services. The data is presented in a visually clear way.
We are constantly investing in enhancing our storage solutions and improving the mobility of data between different systems, so that we can use information even more efficiently in the future.
Legislation and regulation play a huge role in enabling the introduction of new artificial-intelligence-based solutions. Legislation needs to support information security and patient-data protection, as these are critical enablers for utilizing artificial intelligence and data.
Clear rules are needed for the use of artificial intelligence, so that we can all trust the security of new solutions. We must be able to prevent abuses and effectively deal with possible grievances. In Finland, there has always been a high level of trust in the healthcare system and the processing of sensitive data. This gives us a good foundation on which to continue building reliable solutions.
It will be interesting to observe how legislation will approach the collection and utilization of sensitive personal data in research, development and innovation. These activities can provide broad benefits for the healthcare sector and help to solve the industry’s challenges, so supportive legislation is a must.
How then does Finland’s dream healthcare system look in 2030?
Achieving our high ideals starts with enhancing the mobility of data to streamline the patient's treatment path. Data will also aid the development of more predictive healthcare based on genetic technology. Enhancing the use of artificial intelligence in administrative work will provide caregivers with more time to spend with patients.
In my opinion, by utilizing artificial intelligence and data, Tietoevry and our partners can build healthcare solutions that better serve everyone. Making changes and utilizing new technologies requires courage, but I believe we’re ready to join forces and bring new innovations to the healthcare sector – both in Finland and elsewhere in the world.
This blog post was originally written in Finnish based on a panel discussion I took part in at Finland’s annual public debate, SuomiAreena. A recording of the discussion can be found here (in Finnish) >>>