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Tarmo Martikainen, the new head of Finland’s Tampere University Hospital (Tays) and the Pirkanmaa Hospital District (PSHP) refuses to surrender in the face of doctor shortages and an ageing population. In this article published in CGI in Finland’s Ratkaisu magazine*, he shares how digitisation and new technologies are paving the way for future healthcare.

Tarmo Martikainen, who took over the helm of Tays and PSHP in October 2019, started his new job with enthusiasm, but also some sadness in departing his role as the CEO for 10 years of the very successful Coxa Hospital for Joint Replacement.

“Leaving one of the best units in the world was difficult, but new challenges are inspiring. Healthcare is currently in a very interesting phase, where digitisation, new technologies and new treatment methods are merging,” says Martikainen.

Martikainen holds a master’s degree in engineering and his deeper dive into healthcare stems partly from curiosity and partly from the desire to influence something that is relevant to all Finns. According to Martikainen, the upcoming challenges in healthcare are so big that many things have to change.

“Over the next ten years, the number of people over the age of 75 will double and half the medical specialists will retire. This equation requires a lot of thought,” Martikainen explains.

The number one priority is the effectiveness of healthcare and this requires data that is easy to use and quickly available to ensure success. The value of data is not just emphasised in daily healthcare. It also enables the development of completely new treatments, medicines and prognostic models.

Over the next ten years, the number of people over the age of 75 will double and half the medical specialists will retire. This equation requires a lot of thought

Tarmo Martikainen, Director, Tays and PSHP

 

Data lakes support new healthcare infrastructure

Good IT systems are essential to the functioning of healthcare and therefore to the effectiveness of the overall treatment. They can be used to build value-added digital solutions that integrate with basic healthcare processes and systems to facilitate the daily lives of healthcare professionals and patients. All of this is based on data that can be managed centrally and cost-effectively with data lakes. In addition to serving the needs of primary healthcare and specialised medical care, analysing data contained in data lakes also provides insight into individual patient segments. This offers an even more accurate picture of the effectiveness of care.

“There are several ongoing regional and city-specific data lake projects in healthcare. Regional measures are quick to get started, but the long-term objective should be one entity functioning at the national level. We are in a good position in Finland as there is already a lot of data in healthcare. However, it is too fragmented. Data must be used more efficiently,” states Martikainen.

Tays and PSHP have been actively involved in the national UNA project which is focused on renewing the ecosystem of data processing systems used in social welfare and healthcare. At the same time, the Star Hospital project, which is aimed at service provision cooperation between the hospital districts of Pirkanmaa, Kanta-Häme and South Ostrobothnia is progressing through its own development company.

“In both projects, the participants have different needs and priorities. However, both UNA and Star Hospital are advancing all the time, and in my opinion, this is important at the national level,” says Martikainen.

Tarmo Martikainen, the new leader of the Tays and Pirkanmaa Hospital District, wants to improve the effectiveness of healthcare, supported by health data and well-functioning IT systems.

 

Disruptive experiments needed

Martikainen believes the digitisation of healthcare is a continuous process that improves operational effectiveness, which requires the right technology solutions and personnel management. The entire organisation must commit to the targeted change and understand the possibilities and options it offers. The productivity gains achieved through digitisation can help meet the challenges of increasing patient numbers and dwindling resources.

“We are currently creating a data strategy for PSHP, which will define the needs for digital development, the steps to take and funding options. In addition, we are considering the appropriate options for digital development from in-house development to various types of partnerships and open platforms,” Martikainen says.

Although the future of healthcare requires long-term, comprehensive digital development, Martikainen also welcomes bold and disruptive experiments, that among other things, would encourage people to take better care of their own health.

CGI as the IT partner for social and healthcare services

CGI is a long-term IT services provider to Tays and PSHP, and throughout the Pirkanmaa region. At the heart of the hospital district is a patient data system developed as a part of CGI’s OMNI360, a next-generation open and modular service platform.
  

“Pirkanmaa is one of the regions where we have had close collaboration to ensure that clinicians have access to the best possible tools. With good cooperation, we want to ensure that the new solutions meet the needs of Finnish healthcare in the best possible way,” says CGI’s Juha Sorri, Vice-President Consulting Services in Finland, who is responsible for the development of next generation systems.
  

With the merger of Hatanpää hospital with Tays, CGI already has gained practical experience in the integration of social welfare and healthcare production. The entire project was completed in just 11 months and covered both operational processes and data processing systems.
  


* Ratkaisu magazine is published several times a year by CGI in Finland.