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Finland Data Source

National Discharge Register is the most comprehensive database on inpatient care in Finland. It contains data routinely collected from all hospitals and other institutions producing inpatient health care. Secondary level outpatient care can be found in the Hospital Benchmarking Database which has a separate description below.

Governance

The National Discharge Register is maintained by THL

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , p. +358 029 524 8694

Access to database  Data linkage is allowed provided that the researcher has received permission from the authorities (THL).
Coverage

National Discharge Register contain key inpatient and outpatient data abstractions from the operative systems in hospitals (length of stay, Dx, procedures, etc.), patient (age, gender etc.) and medical data (main and secondary diagnoses, selected treatments) and is basically a Minimum Basic Dataset. Data is available on

  • anonymised patient level data per hospital stay (sex, age, place of residence, #days of hospitalisation)
  • medical data on hospital stay (major and additional diagnoses according to ICD-10 standards, procedures/treatments)
  • points awarded per hospital stay based on DRG system
  • DRG codes per hospital

Information on diagnoses and procedures are easily available in databases since 1988

Linkage Individual level data can be linked using the unique and national personal identification code. However, linkage requires substantial justification on behalf of researchers due to data protection protocols.
Data quality The data quality has been considered good or satisfactory. The National Discharge Register has been a subject of several published data quality evaluations.
Strengths and weaknesses Each data item refers to one hospital stay. Whether one patient is hospitalized n times per quarter or whether n patients are hospitalized once can be easily distinguished.  Linkage possibilities to other national registers using the unique personal identification is a major strength. However, the data contents in the minimum data set are fairly limited. Clinical parameters, health behaviour data and other crucial risk adjustments/outcomes measures (e.g. QoL data) are missing.

 

The Hospital Benchmarking Database contain key inpatient and outpatient data abstractions from the operative systems in hospitals (length of stay, in which ward etc.), patient (age, gender etc.) and medical data (main and additional diagnoses, selected treatments). Hospital, hospital specialty unit and regional level data are available for various indicators for activity/utilization:  DRGs, bed-days, discharges,outpatient visits. The Hospital benchmarking database also contains total operating costs at hospital and hospital specialty level.

Governance THL: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , p.  +358 )            
Access to database Data linkage is allowed provided that the researcher has received permission from the authorities. Generally, user requests for individual level data sets are subject to tight review procedures before permission is granted and data retrieval often involve some costs.
Coverage
  • Information on health status prior and after hospital stay
  • Hospital admission, discharge and follow-up care
  • Care during hospital stay and outpatient visits
  • Hospital and specialty unit level costs
  • DRGs and DRG cost weights
Linkage Individual level data can be linked using the unique and national personal identification code. However, linkage requires substantial justification on behalf of researchers due to data protection protocols.
Data quality The data quality has been considered good or satisfactory.
Strenghts and weaknesses Each data item refers to one hospital stay or visit. Whether one patient is hospitalized n times per quarter or whether n patients are hospitalized once can be easily distinguished.  Linkage possibilities to other national registers using the unique personal identification is a major strength. However, the data contents in the minimum data set are fairly limited, clinical parameters, health behaviour data and other crucial risk adjustments/outcomes measures (e.g. QoL data) are missing.

 

AVOHILMO register (THL) provides data for all patient encounters within the publicly provided primary care (primary health care centers) in Finland since 2011.

Governance The Avohilmo register is maintained by THL
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , p. +358 029 524 8694
Access to database Data linkage is allowed provided that the researcher has received permission from the authorities (THL).
Coverage

Avohilmo register contains outpatient data abstractions from the operative patient administration systems in primary care (Dx, procedures, etc.), patient (age, gender etc.) and medical data and is basically a Minimum Basic Dataset. Data is available on

  • anonymised patient level data per hospital stay (sex, age, place of residence, type of visit/patient contact)
  • medical data on hospital stay (major and additional diagnoses according to ICD-10 standards, procedures/treatments)
  • points awarded per hospital stay based on DRG system
  • DRG codes per hospital

Information are  collected since 2011

Linkage Individual level data can be linked using the unique and national personal identification code. However, linkage requires substantial justification on behalf of researchers due to data protection protocols.
Data quality The data quality may be poor since the development and use are at an early stage. There are large variation in the diagnosis coding.
Strenghts and weaknesses Each data item refers to one outpatient contact. Distinct patients having multiple contacts can be distinguished.  Linkage possibilities to other national registers using the unique personal identification is a major strength. However, the data contents in the minimum data set are fairly limited, clinical parameters, health behaviour data and other crucial risk adjustment measures are missing.

 

SotkaNET database (THL) provides  data on demographic variables and healthcare provision at regional level as well as epidemiological key themes (e.g. life expectancy, mortality, cancer incidence, self-reported health). A large selection of indicators are available and calculated according to regional (e.g. hospital districts, municipalities) entities and in time-series.

Governance The Sotkanet database is maintained by THL
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , Outi Räikkönen, Phone +358 (0)29 524 7272

Access to database

Web site user interface
Coverage

The SOTKAnet Indicator Bank is a National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) information service that offers key population welfare and health data from 1990 onwards on all Finnish municipalities, based on the current administrative division into municipalities. It allows the user to search for indicator data concerning different geographical areas in absolute numbers and percentages.

  • frequency of consultations of primary care physicians and other personnel,
  • hospital discharges and bed-days
  • the use of long-term care including average length of stay
  • health care costs (total) divided by specialized and primary care
  • population characteristics (incl living conditions, habits and some aggregated socioeconomic variables)
Linkage Cannot be linked since there are no access to individual level data
Data quality The data quality is relatively good in most of the indicators
Strenghts and weaknesses Provides only aggregated data which can be used on regional level modelling

 

The Finnish Cancer Registry reports on cancer incidence, prevalence and survival per calendar year. The registry includes a complete census of all cancer patients since 1953.   All cancer cases in must be reported using a specific  and rather detailed form. The registry can be used for studies using individual level data and linkages to other registries.

Governance

THL and Suomen Syöpäyhdistys ry.  Risto Sankila, p. +358 09 135 331
Access to database Data (individual level) use is allowed provided that the researcher has received permission from the authorities (THL).
Coverage
  • Cancer type data by sex and localisation, treatments, outcomes, available from 1953. Backround information of the patients, including the occupation and place of residence
  • Data collected from all health care professionals
Linkage Unique person identifiers, which can be used in any linking to other national registries or databases.
Data quality Data quality  is considered to be very high.
Strengths and weaknesses The incident cases are reported with good accuracy, but the resource use and costs during the treatment process in the follow-up need to be obtained by linkages to hospital databases (e.g. hospital benchmarking database)

 

 

Health 2000/2011 Interview Surveys 2000 and 2011
Finnish Health Interview Survey 2000/2011”administered by THL  provides detailed information on self-perceived health, chronic diseases and mental conditions, life quality, health impairment in a periodically conducted survey. The survey was supplemeted with actual medical check-ups. The survey years were 2000 and 2011.

Governance THL, Pirkko Alha | p. +358 029 524 8764
Access to database
  • The research plan must be approved by the committee in THL before the data can be used
  • Linkages to other registries require separate applications for permission
Coverage Detailed data on
  • Health status
  • Need for care and/or support
  • Health behaviour (alcohol/drug consumption, physical activity)
  • Frequency of medical consultations/check-ups
  • Medication
  • A selection of clinical measurements
Linkage Possible to link to some of the major national registries (which were defined in the questionnaire) using the unique personal identification number. 
Data quality This is a representative survey (N= 10000) for the Finnish population over 18 years
Strengths and weaknesses

 

FINRISK Surveys 1972-2012
FINRISK surveys administered by THL  provide periodically (every 5 years) collected and detailed information on the use of health services, risk factors, health behaviour and habits,  self-perceived health, chronic diseases and mental conditions, life quality, health impairment

Governance  THL, Marketta Taimi | p. +358 029 524 8621
Access to database
  • The research plan must be approved by the committee in THL before the data can be used
  • Linkages to other registries require separate applications for permission
Coverage Detailed data on
  • Health status
  • Need for care and/or support
  • Health behaviour (alcohol/drug consumption, physical activity)
  • Frequency of medical consultations/check-ups
  • Medication
Linkage Possible to link to some of the major national registries (which were defined in the questionnaire) using the unique personal identification number. 
Data quality This survey (N= 10 000) based on a random sample for the Finnish population aged 25-74 years and collected in the predefined study regions
Strenghts and weaknesses

 

The cause of death register
Statistics Finland collects and files causes of death (according to ICD-10-Codes) for all citizens in Finland. 

Governance  Statistics Finland (Tilastokeskus), p. +358 17341
Access to database
  • The research plan must be approved by Statistics Finland before the data can be used
  • Linkages to other registries require separate applications for permission
Data coverage Data on
  • Cause  of death  (ICD-10)
  • Time of death
  • Personal identification code
  • Municipality/region at the time of death
Linkage Possible to link to other data sources using the unique personal identification number
Data quality Generally fairly good, although there are some inaccuracies in the interpretation of the main cause of death. Some conventions in the use of classifications are useful to know before using the data.
Strenghts and weaknesses

 

 

KELASTO
KELASTO database provides annual data on drug reimbursements, sickness leave, rehabilitation and other allowances and is maintained by the Social Insurance Institute (KELA). It includes also a research database where individual level data can be obtained for research purposes.

Governance KELA Statistics department, Johanna Aarnio p. +358 020 634 1335
Access to database
  • The research plan must be approved by SII before the data can be used
  • Linkages to other registries require separate applications for permission
Coverage Data on
  • Reimbursements for medical and pharmaceutical expenses,
  • Sickness and disability allowances
  • Occupational health care
  • Rehabilitation allowances
Linkage Possible to link to other data sources using the unique personal identification number
Data quality Data quality is fairly good
Strenghts and weaknesses KELA database is the major source of information on the consumption of pharmaceuticals. Volumes and types of (reimbursed) drug purchases can be used to approximate the use of various types of drugs. In addition, drug consumption information can be used to supplement the often incomplete comorbidity information in the national discharge register (especially in the case of chronic diseases, e.g. diabetes)