What is the difference between primary and secondary use of health and social data?

Primary use means the purpose for which the data was originally saved in the customer register and/or patient register.

The primary purpose may be, for example,

  • examination, treatment and rehabilitation of the patient,
  • the service received by a social welfare customer,
  • or the processing of benefits by the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela).

Secondary use means the use of the same data for purposes other than the primary use.

Legitimate secondary purposes of use include

  • scientific research,
  • statistics,
  • development and innovation activities,
  • education,
  • knowledge management,
  • steering and supervision by authorities and
  • the planning and reporting duty of an authority.

Different purposes of use are subject to different regulations. Only aggregated statistics from which individuals cannot be identified may be obtained for development and innovation activities.