The Research Programme on Health Services Research (TERTTU) was a response to ongoing societal debate on whether health services funding is in crisis, whether the available services match the population’s needs, and whether health differentials between population groups are growing in spite of efforts to curb this trend. In that situation, there was a need for a coordinated research programme with a focus on health services research. The aim was to find solutions to problems in healthcare. As the population in the country continues to grow older, the need for health services increases. In addition, the dependency ratio is changing so that a proportionately smaller workforce is now having to pay the bill for rising pension and healthcare costs.
The overall aim of the TERTTU programme was to permanently increase the contribution of scientific research when tackling the key development challenges and problems of healthcare. Another aim was to promote and further develop collaboration between researchers and different actors within the healthcare system.
The programme explored the needs, methods, structures and policy-making related to health services from the perspective of citizens, healthcare professionals and policy-makers. The programme’s thematic fields included:
- the value basis, justness and priorities of healthcare
- policy-making concerning healthcare and its social, political and international connections
- the challenges posed by the changing demographic structure and other changes in society to healthcare
- innovations in and alternatives to the provision, organisation and funding of health services and other welfare services as seen from the point of view of the Finnish experience and international comparisons
- development of and prospects for private business in the health services sector, including industry and competition policy, the allocation of public funding and the impacts of the relationships between public and private healthcare services
- expectations of citizens, patients and their representative bodies, and their opportunities for participating in and influencing healthcare services
- working life, training and education, human resources development and management in healthcare
- development and internationalisation of the commodity, services, work and funding markets in healthcare and their impacts on the development of national and local health services,
- the impacts and effectiveness of healthcare and its methods, models for the evaluation of those methods and the controlled application of new healthcare methods as well as ICT.
Academy funding for the TERTTU programme was EUR 6 million.
The international panel that evaluated the TERTTU programme was expected to assess the programme as a whole, with a particular focus on the following issues: planning, scientific quality, success of programme implementation, contribution to researcher and expert training, collaboration and networking, and the applicability of research results and their significance to end-users.
The launch of the programme was met with great interest and, despite the heterogeneity of the projects, the coordination team managed well in providing training and support for the projects. A number of researchers were recruited within the field, and many of the programme’s results will be seen only at a later stage.
For more information, see the evaluation report (PDF).
The TERTTU programme was directed by Professor Juhani Lehto and coordinated by Researcher Ulla Ashorn, PhD, from Tampere School of Public Health, University of Tampere.