Finland’s National Institute for Health and Welfare joins SNOMED International as the organization’s 36th Member.

London, United Kingdom, Dec. 19, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- SNOMED International and the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) are pleased to announce that Finland has joined the organization as its thirty-sixth Member.

Finland, one of the leading nations in the area of information and communication technology, has set the development of eHealth technologies as a high priority and has quickly become a pioneer in digital health. Its largest national digital healthcare project, the Kanta Service, i.e. the National Archive of Health Information, is one of the most comprehensive systems of its kind globally, covering already the entire Finnish public healthcare sector as well as most of the private sector. The development of Kanta Service began around 2005, and the first laws concerning the digital service were enacted in 2007.

A prerequisite to this being the development of information systems and standards and particularly their usability. The Kanta Service is a collaborative undertaking among the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela), the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, and various social and healthcare organizations.

As the newest SNOMED International Member, Finland will leverage SNOMED CT’s

structured clinical vocabulary to structure its Kanta Service and realize improvements in how clinical data is recorded, analyzed and reported on for the benefit of patient care. Finland’s commitment to SNOMED CT sets a foundation for clinical data to be exchanged accurately and consistently across Finnish health and social care settings, further extending the reach of structured clinical terminology throughout the European region.

To make best use of SNOMED CT with available resources, Finland has chosen not to translate the whole terminology. Instead, the aim is to focus on two national reference sets that meet local needs in areas where there is international experience and models showing implementation success. The first target is an obvious one: standardizing the terminology and codes for anatomic pathology in the clinical laboratories. Finnish pathology laboratories have used SNOMED 2 since 1980’s. But lack of coordination eventually resulted in several dialects and variance between hospitals. Now the ongoing project aims at national reference set to help the biobanks, regional and national quality registers and structured reporting on individual patient basis.

The other chosen application for SNOMED CT is patient problem list. Finland decided to use CORE Problem List as foundation for the local effort. CORE Problem List originated from a respectable group of medical institutions in the U.S. and is maintained by the National Medical Library thus making the acceptance of the reference set by clinicians so much easier. The ongoing project translates terminology into Finnish and when finished will cover terms for both professionals and patients. Our aim is to have these first two applications ready at the first half of 2020. SNOMED CT National Release Center will gradually take off during 2019 and 2020 to meet the needs for services and support during SNOMED CT local implementations. SNOMED CT NRC will be essential part of THL Code Service.

SNOMED CT is the world’s most comprehensive health terminology. Founded in 2007 by nine charter nations, SNOMED International is a not-for-profit, member-owned and driven international organization. CEO, Don Sweete, is excited to add Finland to SNOMED International’s European Member base. “Finland’s leading-edge digital expertise stems from years as leaders of the information technology and communications industry.” Since then, the strong Finnish ICT experience has permeated nearly every industrial sector including health. Digital health technology is certainly one of the most compelling and promising of these fields with the Kanta Service, and Finland’s commitment to adopting SNOMED CT’s clinical terminology to support care delivery, data analysis and research is encouraging.”

Finland is the twenty-third country in the Europe, Middle East and African region (EMEA) to join SNOMED International, strengthening the position of the area for increased interoperability amongst its regional and international counterparts as was echoed in the 2017 ASSESS CT report.

To learn more about SNOMED International and SNOMED CT, visit

To learn more about Finnish healthcare visit For more information on Kanta services visit and  

About SNOMED International:

SNOMED International is a not-for-profit organization that owns and develops SNOMED CT, the world's most comprehensive healthcare terminology product. We play an essential role in improving the health of humankind by determining standards for a codified language that represents groups of clinical terms. This enables healthcare information to be exchanged globally for the benefit of patients and other stakeholders. We are committed to the rigorous evolution of our products and services, to deliver continuous innovation for the global healthcare community. SNOMED International is the trading name of the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation (IHTSDO.)



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About National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL):

The National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) is responsible for the operative guidance of the information management in social welfare and health care. As a statistical authority THL is responsible for the maintenance and development work of the statistical and register repositories and national classifications. The Operational Management Unit is responsible for the operational management of health and welfare information manages the national development of health and welfare information gives hospital districts, health centres, private health service providers, and pharmacies guidance in carrying out information-system reforms so that the introduction of services is managed within the time frames defined by law. We are an independent, expert agency working under the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.








Finland’s National Institute for Health and Welfare

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