University of Eastern Finland
Dept. of Health and Social Management
IMIA Academic Representative:
Prof. Kaija Saranto
IMIA NI Representative:
Dr. Ulla-Mari Kinnunen
IMIA Accreditation: the Health and Human Services Informatics Master’s degree program provided by the institution has been accredited by IMIA for a period of five years (2012-17).
About the University of Eastern Finland
The University of Joensuu and the University of Kuopio merged to constitute the multidisciplinary University of Eastern Finland at the beginning of 2010. The open-minded merger of the universities enables the new university to better react to the changing needs of science and society and to meet the demands of operational efficiency. The University of Eastern Finland operates on two main campuses, in Joensuu and Kuopio (distance 120 km), and the university also has a campus in Savonlinna. (http://www.uef.fi/uef/english)
Department of Health and Social Management (founded in 1979) is the oldest Department in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Business Studies in the University of Eastern Finland. Today the Department has degree programs and research in four majors: health management sciences (since 1979), health economics (since 1997), health and human services informatics (since 2000) and social management science (since 2006). All of these disciplines have quite pioneer and unique role in the Finnish University education. (http://www.uef.fi/stj)
About our program in Health and Human Services Informatics (HHSI)
Program in Information Management in Social and Health Care started in 2000. In 2006 this program was stabilized and since then has been a permanent master’s degree program funded by Ministry of Education. The program is now called ‘Health and Human Services Informatics’ which reflects its present focus. From the beginning of the education it was obvious to join perspectives of two important service sectors – health and social care – in the education program based on the development activities in the Finnish society. Since 2000 the program has engaged mostly nurses but also other health and social care and IT professionals. (http://www.uef.fi/stj/sosiaali-ja-terveydenhuollon-tietohallinto)
A strong influence for the rapid research growth of activities in the field of health and human services informatics was the founding of Social and Health Information Technology Research Unit (Shiftec-Unit) in 2002. It works firmly with the Master’s program and provides high-quality research and development services for the needs of organizations and enterprises in the field of health and human services information systems. The need for this kind of research and evaluation studies has been obvious in the Finnish society.
Objectives and outcomes of the program
Our strategic goal is to produce experts with the knowledge and skills to plan and manage information resources, have an understanding about the field of health care and human services as a whole and the area’s special features regarding information technology and management. The need for this kind of education and research is indisputable. The societal need of HHSI program rests on informatics knowledge and skills needed in health and social sector. Our strategy is to educate health and social care professionals to informatics experts as well as to educate information system developers to have an in-depth view of health and social care. In other words, the aim is to build up a bridge between IT and service systems.
The goal of the program is to give the students an in-depth understanding of the service systems and to develop informatics from the viewpoint of the special characteristics of the social and health care sectors. Especially, the goal is to strengthen planning, implementation, evaluation and administration of information resources in health and social sectors.
The program rests on the educational recommendations of the International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA). Due to the Finnish higher education system and the Finnish way of providing health and social services, the structure of knowledge and skill areas for master´s degree level program has been modified.
In 2011, the total of 100 students had finalised their master´s degree program in Health and Human Services Informatics. Their work situation is very good, and they are employed at the management, administrative and development positions in private and public sector as well as in education and research. In 2012, 10 graduate students are studying in the doctoral program of HHSI.