The client data model for social welfare services in Finland.

Paper presented at #husITa14 in Melbourne, Australia, July 2014.


husITa14 Session

Jarmo Kärki (National Institute for Health and Welfare, Finland).


Nowadays a client of social welfare service may use different human services in various agencies. Every agency records the client data of its own. Often the identical data is saved in several repositories. The stored data of the client, his needs and services should be available where and when ever he’s been helped. Sharing client data between service agencies needs the interoperability of information systems.

In Finland the interoperability of the systems used in the public services is patterned after an overall enterprise architecture concept. Information architecture is one of the four component areas of the enterprise architecture. The information architecture contains standardization of terminologies and data structures etc.

In order to achieve the interoperability standardization of the content of the client data used in social welfare is required. Thus a client data model describing and supporting social services processes is at the core of the social services information architecture.

The client data model of Finnish social welfare describes the nationally uniformed data structures and relationships between the elements of the data needed when providing social services. It contains structures of over 250 different social care client records, over 150 unique core components and about 100 distinct classifications. It is available in the website named

The client data model was developed step by step in National Project of IT in Social Service during 2008-2011. It is maintained and developed by the National Institute for Health and Welfare in close co-operation with the social workers. The goal is to keep the client data specifications feasible, usable, consistent and up to date in accordance with a specific management model.

An implementation of the client data model to the operational systems is taking gradually place when the Finnish social welfare organizations are preparing to use a National Client Data Repository for Social Services.


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