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Space for custom clothing: how the Finns do it – ICT and health

Space for custom clothing: how the Finns do it – ICT and health

In January this year, I visited Finland with a delegation from IZA and healthcare professionals during a three-day healthcare innovation trip. I was impressed by the “work ability” of the Finns and the way they make – as I call it – made-to-order clothes.

In Finland you also see a movement towards appropriate care and greater standardization and standardization. But because the Finns are oriented toward the unique individual patient/customer, they have been able to create space for customization. And they are doing so decisively. After a political period of more than 15 years, a rather strict implementation of re-centralization from the municipal level to the regional level, without regime/national regime parties, has now been chosen: physical facilities are closed and interdisciplinary work is quickly accomplished by bringing together people from different Domains. Specializations in teams. And all this from a golden scope and transformation mission set by the government.

Dare to make choices

In times of scarcity and a struggling healthcare system, you have to dare to make choices, and that's exactly what the Finns did. For example, they radically reorganized the number of healthcare buildings and continued to improve the entrance, which is possible thanks to digitalization. This has contributed to improving access to health and social care, especially in sparsely populated areas. You can see this leading to an acceleration in integrated healthcare, clear accountability and equipment.

The choices Finns are making now at a rapid pace depend on the measures they took earlier. This was the “click-and-face-contact approach.” [externe link uitleg] Previously submitted. This was possible thanks to clear digital infrastructure, and the implementation and control of the PGO system at the citizen level. Finland has been focusing on interoperability and data management for some time. On the other hand, in Finland there is less interest than in us in using innovations in treatment or decision support.

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Because of course the Finnish system is not perfect either. In aged care, for example, reducing the burden on care staff, the contribution of informal care and the use of smart technology in appropriate residential facilities play a much more limited role than ours. We are also working more actively with contemporary concepts such as positive health, and there is less interest in discretionary employment in Finland.

Moreover, there is frustration with the population financing system: health promotion measures are not rewarded. More money goes to areas where demand for care is higher. There she sees that the movement “from illness and care to health and behaviour” and ultimately to people and society, has reached a dead end. What I also missed from a transformation perspective was the knowledge of change management and the focus on the ability to research and learn.

Thinking and working across domains

There is no doubt that the formation of regional councils is inspiring: each region has a political and executive contractor. These operational contractors have different backgrounds as well as general management knowledge. There are doctors, but there are also engineers and social experts. In this way, you can stimulate cross-disciplinary thinking and action within the framework of transformation and inter-regional coordination. Now that's alignment!

It is interesting to see how we are all working to keep healthcare quality, accessible and affordable in the future. We are gaining strength and we can learn a lot from each other. Because we are all searching for the golden pot. I also do this within my region in North Holland. We work with four sub-regions with no clear governance, so I have separate agreements with many officials in the treatment/care community and funders at different levels of government. I'll be more selective about it, we don't need four variations on each theme. So I will try to find the golden standard and the golden ratio where I can have an impact. Ketos Finland!

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Jolanda Bwalda is the Chairperson of the Board of Directors peripheral And a member of the editorial board of ICT and Health.

Ron Smits