On 21 August, Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services Krista Kiuru and Estonia’s Minister of Social Affairs Taneli Kiik signed a cooperation document. The agreement aims at further strengthening cooperation between the two countries in the field of digitalisation and innovation in the social and health sector.
Finland and Estonia have long cooperated in digitalisation and innovation matters in the social and health sector and in cross-border exchange of information. Although the document signed is not legally binding, "it will further strengthen this work," the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health said in a press release.
Based on it, joint measures can be planned and monitored, and information and experiences can be exchanged regularly.
An example of cooperation already in place is the exchange of electronic prescriptions, based on European prescriptions. In June 2020, Estonians became the first Europeans to be able to buy medicine in Finland with an electronic prescription issued in their home country.
Estonia and Finland were the first countries to start this cooperation. The electronic prescription facilitates people's lives, for example in situations where they are in another country for a long period of time or they forget to bring their medicine when leaving for a journey.
This is a change that the authorities want to be gradually implemented in several other European countries.
The future of medicine
"In the future, cooperation will increasingly take place, for example, in the field of individual medicine, by increasing the opportunities for secondary use of health data across borders and by enhancing exchange of information on health and social security matters between countries," the release said.
Finland and Estonia also conduct significant cooperation to promote European digitalisation and innovation and other international cooperation. An example of this is the goal to create interoperable information systems in Europe.