Rheumatic Diseases and Healthcare in Finland
In Finland, public health services are divided into primary and specialised healthcare. Primary healthcare services are provided at health centres. Some rheumatic diseases, eg polymyalgia rheumatica, are routinely diagnosed in primary healthcare.
Most rheumatic diseases are diagnosed in rheumatology outpatient clinics, which are part of specialised healthcare. Specialised healthcare services are organised mainly in hospitals. Access usually requires a referral from a physician.
Rheumatology outpatient clinics are responsible for beginning medical treatment for most rheumatic diseases and treating the disease while in active stage. Once the disease activity decreases, the patient is referred to primary healthcare for treatment and follow-up.
In addition to public healthcare, there are some private health clinics with rheumatologists. Private health services are considerably more expensive for the client than public ones.