Medical records abroad

Health care service providers abroad comply with the legislation of their country in the handling of client and patient information. Medical records are generally supplied only in the official language of the country providing the treatment. Find out before you leave what documents you need to take with you. After receiving treatment, remember to request all documents relating to you to take them with you back to Finland


Find out before you leave what medical records you need to take with you

If you are seeking treatment abroad, find out from the treatment provider what medical records are required. Necessary records usually consists of a referral or a medical certificate, a medical report and laboratory and imaging results.

Medical records in Finnish are seldom of any use as such abroad. Specific medical terms and codes such as diagnosis classification, laboratory and other procedure codes are, however, internationally recognised, and should be made available to the treatment provider.

Treatment providers abroad have no obligation to translate medical records. Kela does not reimburse costs incurred from translating medical records. Clients are usually responsible for paying these themselves.

Proceed in the following manner if you are going abroad

  • Check which language medical records should be written in. Have the documents translated, if necessary, into a language that the treatment provider will understand. You are responsible for arranging translation and covering the costs yourself.
  • Agree on how your medical records will be delivered to the treatment provider. In general, the relevant authorities do not transfer information abroad. In general, you are responsible for providing the medical records and for any costs incurred yourself.
  • Be aware that patient records contain sensitive personal data as well as health and medical information. Particular attention must be paid to data security when handling medical records.

Make sure that you get the information concerning your treatment back to Finland with you

When you have received treatment aboard, you are entitled to the medical records in written or electronic format or to a copy thereof. Medical records are generally written in the official language of the country providing the treatment. The treatment provider has no obligation to provide medical records in other languages. Find out in advance

  • what kind of documentary information on your treatment abroad will be made available to you
  • the language in which the records will be provided
  • whether they will be in paper, electronic or other form, such as a CD
  • when and how the records concerning your treatment will be made available to you
  • whether any fees will be involved in providing the records.

Provide those responsible for your follow-up care in Finland or your health centre with the medical records concerning the treatment you received abroad. You are responsible for having the records translated into Finnish or Swedish.

The public health care system enters medical records concerning treatment you have received abroad in its own patient records system from where they will be passed to the Patient Data Repository.

There are currently no electronic systems available for transferring medical records between EU countries, therefore clients are responsible for the transfer of information themselves.

Proceed as follows when you have received treatment abroad

  • Request all medical records relating to you from the treatment provider.
  • Have the documents translated into Finnish or Swedish, if you need them in the Finnish health care system. You are responsible for translation costs.
  • Send the documents in Finland to the party responsible for your possible follow-up treatment