Medical records abroad

Healthcare service providers abroad comply with the national 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.

If you are seeking treatment abroad, find out from the treatment provider what medical records are required. Necessary records usually consist 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.

  • Check which language medical records may or 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.

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.

Make sure that you obtain information concerning your treatment

When you have received treatment aboard, you are entitled to the medical record 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 healthcare 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 no electronic systems available for transferring medical records between EU countries, therefore clients are responsible for the transfer of information themselves.