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Institutions, infrastructures, and data friction – reforming secondary use of health data in Finland

Aula, Ville (2019) Institutions, infrastructures, and data friction – reforming secondary use of health data in Finland. Big Data and Society, 6 (2). ISSN 2053-9517

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Identification Number: 10.1177/2053951719875980


New data-driven ideas of healthcare have increased pressures to reform existing data infrastructures. This article explores the role of data governing institutions during a reform of both secondary health data infrastructure and related legislation in Finland. The analysis elaborates on recent conceptual work on data journeys and data frictions, connecting them to institutional and regulatory issues. The study employs an interpretative approach, using interview and document data. The results show the stark contrast between the goals of open and Big Data inspired reforms and the existing institutional realities. The multiple tensions that emerged during the process indicate how data frictions emanate to the institutional level, and how mundane data practices and institutional dynamics are intertwined. The article argues that in the Finnish case, public institutions acted as sage-guards of public interest, preventing more controversial parts from passing. Finally, it argues that initiating regulatory and infrastructural reforms simultaneously was beneficial for solving the tensions of the initiative and analysing either side separately would have produced misleading accounts of the overall initiative. The results highlight the benefits of analysing institutional dynamics and data practices as connected issues.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2019 The Author
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Date Deposited: 27 Aug 2019 12:57
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:41

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