Can the healthcare and social welfare reform reduce the sustainability gap by EUR 3 billion?

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 14.10.2015 15.16
News item

Tuomas Pöysti started in October as Project Manager, leading the government healthcare and social welfare reform. During the first two years of the project, Pöysti will be working at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. After that, he is going to work at the Ministry of Finance. Pöysti tells about his role and his views on the healthcare and social welfare reform.

Text version of the interview

What do your duties include?

"As Permanent State Under-Secretary, I'm responsible for leading the establishing of self-governmental areas for the healthcare and social welfare reform. At the Ministry of Finance, I'm leading the governmental reform. I see to that legislative proposals will be presented to the Minister, the reforms will be prepared as a whole and the reforms will be completed."

Many models for this healthcare and social welfare reform have already been rejected. Why did you decide to start as Project Manager leading this difficult reform?

"Sometimes one needs to accept major challenges. I am worried about the future of our country and its people – how the basic rights laid down by section 19 of the Constitution can implemented on an equal basis. Because of the great worry, I needed to participate in solving the problems."

How is it possible to make the various actors committed to the reform?

"Through dialogue. Through dialogue and listening and creating common understanding that we have a problem and we need to solve it together."

In your opinion, what part does digitalisation pay in the reform?

"Digitalisation plays a big role in this reform. According to Professor Matti Pohjola's internationally recognised research on productivity, about half of the effectiveness and productivity benefits come from utilising ICT and digitalisation. This is the case in healthcare and social welfare sector, too.

Through digitalisation it is also possible to support people to take more responsibility for their own wellbeing and health. This means that digitalisation enables completely new practices that are customer and patient-centered.

Then there are also new visions combining the Finnish bio-bank legislation, Finland's good ICT expertise and the genome strategy of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. This combination can bring completely new business initiatives relating to wellbeing technology, gene technology and digitalisation, which means good opportunities for national economic growth."

Can the healthcare and social welfare reform reduce the sustainability gap by three billion euros?

"Three billion is a macroeconomic calculation that compares the baseline of the Ministry of Finance with possible trends following the productivity development.  The goal is ambitious but it is based on practical examples showing that such development is possible. In the long run, significant goals can be reached in managing costs without deteriorating services or their quality and safety.

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