Health care expenditure (SHA 2011) (hlth_sha11)

National Reference Metadata in ESS Standard for Quality Reports Structure (ESQRS)

Compiling agency: National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL)

Eurostat metadata
Reference metadata
1. Contact
2. Statistical presentation
3. Statistical processing
4. Quality management
5. Relevance
6. Accuracy and reliability
7. Timeliness and punctuality
8. Coherence and comparability
9. Accessibility and clarity
10. Cost and Burden
11. Confidentiality
12. Comment
Related Metadata
Annexes (including footnotes)

For any question on data and metadata, please contact: EUROPEAN STATISTICAL DATA SUPPORT


1. Contact Top
1.1. Contact organisation

National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL)

1.2. Contact organisation unit

Information Services - Statistics and Registers

1.5. Contact mail address

P.O. Box 30, FI-00271 Helsinki, Finland

2. Statistical presentation Top
2.1. Data description

Health care expenditure quantifies the economic resources dedicated to health functions, excluding capital investment. Healthcare expenditure concerns itself primarily with healthcare goods and services that are consumed by resident units, irrespective of where that consumption takes place (it may be in the rest of the world) or who is paying for it. As such, exports of healthcare goods and services (to non-resident units) are excluded, whereas imports of healthcare goods and services for final use are included.
Health care expenditure data provide information on expenditure in the functionally defined area of health distinct by provider category (e.g. hospitals, general practitioners), function category (e.g. services of curative care, rehabilitative care, clinical laboratory, patient transport, prescribed medicines) and financing scheme (e.g. social security, private insurance company, household). For the collection of the data on health care expenditure the System of Health Accounts (SHA) and its related set of International Classification for the Health Accounts (ICHA) is used. SHA sets out an integrated system of comprehensive and internationally comparable accounts and provides a uniform framework of basic accounting rules and a set of standard tables for reporting health expenditure data. The System of Health Accounts - SHA 2011 is a statistical reference manual giving a comprehensive description of the financial flows in health care.

It provides a set of revised classifications of health care functions, providers of health care goods and services and financing schemes. The SHA is currently used as a basis for a joint data collection by OECD, Eurostat and WHO on health care expenditure. The manual sets out in more detail the boundaries, the definitions and the concepts of health accounting – responding to health care systems around the globe with very different organisational and financing arrangements.

Accounting period: Health expenditure and financing data pertain to the calendar year (1 January to 31 December).

The time coverage of this Quality report is 2014 to 2016 reference years.

2.2. Classification system

Healthcare expenditure is recorded in relation to the international classification for health accounts (ICHA) defining:

  • healthcare expenditure by financing schemes (ICHA-HF) — which classifies the types of financing arrangements through which people obtain health services; health care financing schemes include direct payments by households for services and goods and third-party financing arrangements;
  • healthcare expenditure by function (ICHA-HC) — which details the split in healthcare expenditure following the purpose of healthcare activities — such as, curative care, rehabilitative care, long-term care, or preventive care;
  • healthcare expenditure by provider (ICHA-HP) — which classifies units contributing to the provision of healthcare goods and services — such as hospitals, residential facilities, ambulatory health care services, ancillary services or retailers of medical goods.
2.3. Coverage - sector

1. Household individual consumption on health, including the collective consumption with two exceptions:
i. Occupational health care (intermediate consumption within establishments) minus an estimated share of occupational health in health providers’ and other medical industries net administration;
ii.“Remunerated” unpaid household production in the form of transfer payments (social benefits in cash) for home care of sick, disabled and elderly persons provided by family members.
SHA 2011 Manual recommends following the standard System of National Account (SNA) rules for drawing the production boundary of health care services, albeit with two notable exceptions:
- Occupational health care is included in the national totals of health care spending. In SNA, this item is recorded as ancillary services and part of intermediate production of enterprises and
- Part of the cash transfers to private households for care givers of home care for the sick and disabled are treated as the paid household production of health care.
2. Health care financing schemes: HF1 Government schemes and compulsory contributory health care financing schemes; HF2 -voluntary health care payment schemes;
HF3 - Household out-of-pocket payment; HF4 - rest of the world financing schemes.
3. NACE rev. 2, section Q, human health and social work activities.

2.4. Statistical concepts and definitions

SHA concept is the consumption of health care goods and services.
Health care statistics describe the process of providing and financing health care in countries by referring to health care goods and services, its providers and financing. For the collection of the data on health care expenditure the System of Health Accounts (SHA) and its related set of International Classification for the Health Accounts (ICHA) is used. SHA is a tri-axial system in which the financing, provision and consumption dimensions are covered by the ICHA (International Classification for Health Accounts): Health Care Functions (HC), Health Care Providers (HP), Health Care Financing Schemes (HF).
Data are presented in 3 summary (one-dimensional) tables and 3 cross-classification tables (2-dimensional tables).

Summary tables provide data on:

  • Current expenditure by provider (ICHA-HP)
  • Current expenditure by function (ICHA-HC)
  • Current expenditure by financing scheme (ICHA-HF)

Cross-classification tables refer to:

  • HC x HP: Health care expenditure by function and provider: data on which type of health care goods and services are supplied by which health care provider;
  • HC x HF: Health care expenditure by function and by financing scheme: data on how are the different types of services and goods financed;
  • HP x HF: Health care expenditure by provider and by financing scheme: data on from which health care provider and under which particular financing scheme are the services and goods purchased.
2.5. Statistical unit

Commission Regulation 2015/359 concerns the collection of data on "current expenditure on healthcare" which is defined as the "final consumption expenditure of resident units on health care goods and services".
There is a very close relationship between the concept of "final consumption expenditure" as defined in the System of Health Accounts (SHA) and in National Account and, as a consequence, also between the underlying economic transactions as recorded in the two accounting frameworks.
In National Accounts there are two types of statistical units: institutional units and local kind-of-activity units (KAU). A local KAU groups all the parts of an institutional unit in its capacity as producer which are located in a single site. A local KAU belongs to one and only one institutional unit.
SHA uses the same two types of units for data compilation.
Local KAUs operating as providers of healthcare goods and services to resident units are statistical units in SHA.
Also transactions by institutional units are recorded in SHA, in which framework institutional units are also referred to as "financing agents". More precisely, SHA financing agents are institutional units that manage one or more financing schemes. The transactions are executed by the financing agents, according to the rules of the financing schemes.
Financing agents serve as key statistical units in producing national health accounts. While financing schemes are the key units for analysing how the consumption of health care goods and services is financed, the data concerning the relevant transactions are collected either from the financing agents that operate the different financing schemes or from the providers.
The concept of "healthcare financing schemes" in SHA is an application and extension of the concept of "social protection schemes" defined by the European System of Social PROtection Statistics (ESSPROS):  "a distinct body of rules, supported by one or more institutional units, governing the provision of social protection benefits and their financing ...". The social protection scheme is the statistical unit in ESSPROS. It is an analytical unit that allows describing the complete structure of the social protection financing system:  expenditure and receipts.
According to SHA Manual 2011, "the key concepts for describing the structure of the health care financing system are based on measuring: (a) the expenditure of health care financing schemes, under which goods and services are purchased directly from health care providers, on the one hand, and (b) the types of revenues of health care financing schemes, on the other hand.  
Commission Regulation 2015/359 limits its scope to the collection of data on the expenditure of health care financing schemes.

2.6. Statistical population

SHA focuses on the consumption of health care goods and services by the resident population irrespective of where this takes place. This implies the inclusion of imports (from non-resident providers) and the exclusion of exports (health care goods and services provided to non-residents).

2.7. Reference area

The data aims at providing a complete overview of expenditure on health care goods and services consumption of services and goods by the resident population on the national territory of a country.

2.8. Coverage - Time

SHA 2011 based accounts are available from 2000.

2.9. Base period

Not applicable.

3. Statistical processing Top
3.1. Source data

Several data sources are used (as of data notification in March 2018):

-          Surveys/census: 3

-          Public administrative records: 3

-          Financial reports: 4

-          Other: 1



Source name

Brief description of source

Primary SHA variable(s) using this data source

Time period covered by this data source


(Number of months after the end of the accounting period)



Statistics Finland: Consumption Survey

Data source for therapeutic appliances and other medical goods. The previous Survey was carried out in 2012. See more information: HC.5, HP.4, HF.2.3 2000-   Irregular  

THL: Health Care Unit Costs in Finland 2006 -report (only in Finnish)

This study-based data has been used, together with the volume information of AvoHILMO and HILMO patient/client based register data, as a cost driver in distributing the expenditure on primary health care and specialised medical care for ICHA-functions (unit cost x volume).   HC.1, HC.2, HC.3, HC.6 2000   Irregular  

"Kuusikko"-reports (only in Finnish): 

Provide detailed information of the structure and the costs of elderly care and care for people with intellectual disabilities in the six biggest town in Finland. Nearly 30 % of the population is living in these towns.  HC.3, HCR.1 2000-2014   Annual  


Public administrative records

Source name

Brief description of source

Primary SHA variable(s) using this data source

Time period covered by this data source


(Number of months after the end of the accounting period)



Social Insurance Institution (SII): Statistical Yearbook and statistics (occupational health care, rehabilitation, health security)

The major data source for private healh care sector and medicine expenditure. Coverage is good. Statistics are based on the registeries maintained by SII.   HC.1, HC.2, HC.4, HC.5, HC.6, HC.7,HC.R.1, HP.2, HP.3, HF.1.2, HF.2.3 2000- 11 Annual  

THL: Register of Primary Health Care Visits (AvoHILMO)

Data provides volume information for primary health care visits. AvoHILMO data collection began in 2011. See more information:  HC.1, HC.2, HC.6 2011- 0 Daily  

THL: Care Register for Health Care (HILMO)

Data provides volume information for inpatient primary health care and inpatient and outpatient specialised health care. See more information: and HC.1, HC.3 2000- 10 Annual  


Financial reports

Source name

Brief description of source

Primary SHA variable(s) using this data source

Time period covered by this data source


(Number of months after the end of the accounting period)



Statistics Finland: Finances and activities of municipalities and joint municipal boards. CLOSED!

Statistics is the base data source for the sectoral accounts in National Accounts. Statistics cover all municipalities and joint  municipality boards (hospital districts) in Finland. More information about the statistics: HC.1, HC.2, HC.3,HC.4, HC.6, HC.7, HCR.1,  HP.1, HP.2, HP.3,HP.5, HF.1.1.3, HF.2.3, FS.1.1.2 2000-2014 11 Annual  

Statistics Finland: Local government finances

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Local government finances [e-publication].
ISSN=2343-4163. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 28.8.2017].
Access method:

HC.1, HC.2, HC.3,HC.4, HC.6, HC.7, HCR.1,  HP.1, HP.2, HP.3,HP.5, HF.1.1.3, HF.2.3, FS.1.1.2 2015- 11 Annual  

Statistics Finland: National Accounts

Sectoral accounts are used in balancing data derived from Finances of municipalities and joint municipalities. Data source for public and private investments. Quality of the statistics has been described in more detail: HC.1, HC.2, HC.3,HC.4, HC.6, HCR1, HP.1, HP.2, HP.3, HP.5, HF.1.1.3 2000- 24 Annual  

State Treasury: Fund Statements for Central Government Finances

  HC.2, HC.3, HC.6, HC.7,  HF.1.1.1 2000- 4 Annual  



Source name

Brief description of source

Primary SHA variable(s) using this data source

Time period covered by this data source


(Number of months after the end of the accounting period)



Finnish Medicines Agency and SII: Finnish Statistics on Medicines

Data source for OTC, prescribed and hospital medicines. Hospital medicines are included under HC.1 expenditure. Coverage and quality is good for all the medicine expenditure. HC.1, HC.5, HP.4, HF1.2, HF2.3 2000- 10 Annual  
3.2. Frequency of data collection


3.3. Data collection

Data are collected through the joint health accounts questionnaire (JHAQ) that countries submit to Eurostat during the annual data collection exercise. There is a voluntary deadline to send the JHAQ questionnaire for the calendar year T by the 31st of March T+2. The joint health accounts questionnaire (JHAQ) is coordinated in agreement with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). These three international organisations are known collectively as the International Health Accounts Team (IHAT). Countries submit data to Eurostat on the basis of Commission Regulation (EU) 2015/359 of 4 March 2015 implementing Regulation (EC) No 1338/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards statistics on healthcare expenditure and financing.

At the national level data is collected and compiled by the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL). The data for the statistics are gathered annually by making use of various statistics and registers, research reports and financial statements. Due to the limitations and shortcomings of statistical datasets, the statistics are partly based on estimates. For instance, the expenditure on private oral health care not covered by National Health Insurance is an estimate based on several statistical data sources.

3.4. Data validation

The 2018 JHAQ includes a number of features which allow national data correspondents to perform various quality checks before submitting the data. The embedded programmes allow the verification of:

1- Consistency of the data between tables,
This step checks if the marginal totals reported in each table of the JHAQ are consistent across all tables. For example, for each function (HC), the total across all financing schemes (HF) in the HCxHF table has to be equal to the total across all providers (HP) in the HCxHP table, i.e. the values in the column “All HF” in the HCxHF table have to be equal to the values in the column “All HP” in the HCxHP table. Any detected differences are flagged up in the corresponding row or column in the relevant tables and all inconsistencies are listed in the “Report” worksheet by variable code together with the amount by which the respective variable differs between the two compared tables. A positive value indicates that the first listed table has a higher value for the same variable, and vice versa.


2- Consistency of the data within tables,
Any detected inconsistencies are listed by variable code together with an indication of which total is not equal to the sum of its subcomponents as well as the numerical difference. A positive figure indicates that the total is greater than the reported sub-components, and vice versa.

  • The presence of negative values,

Entries in the tables cannot be negative as they refer to the consumption of goods and services.
If an individual data table is checked for internal consistency, the negative values check is performed for the relevant table and then any negative values are highlighted red and crossed out.

  • The presence of atypical entries,

The atypical entries check provides information whether the data tables contain values in cells which are – if at all – only reported by very few countries and are thus atypical for health accounting.
If an individual data table is checked for internal consistency, the atypical entries check is performed for the relevant table. In the data tables, any cell containing an atypical entry will be highlighted for national data providers.
Should any atypical entries be identified, compilers should scrutinize in detail the transactions that led to entries in those cells and assess whether the accounting rules of SHA have been correctly applied. If they come to the conclusion that the transactions are recorded in the correct categories of the ICHA classifications, then the corresponding atypical entries represent unique – and correctly accounted for – features of the country’s health system. In this case a short description of the nature of the transactions should be included in the accompanying Metadata file under “II.3. Atypical entries”.
If, on the other hand, compilers come to the conclusion that the transactions are not recorded correctly, then they need to make adjustments in the concerned tables. In case the transactions recorded in a cell do not belong to the boundaries of SHA (e.g. they refer to intermediate consumption) the value of the respective cell should be deleted (and all cells that are affected by this change adjusted accordingly). In case the transactions are misreported and another category of the ICHA classification is more appropriate, the value of the cell should be transferred to the correct cell of the table.


3- The growth rates against the previous year and the magnitude of revisions as compared to previously submitted data. Results are grouped into three different categories:

  • Breaks in series (the current questionnaire shows no data for an item that is not null in the other file)
  • Newly reported (the current questionnaire contains data for an item that is empty in the other file)
  • Differences (all other types of differences)

Data are correct in so far as they have been reported correctly and accurately. The data are checked at different stages of the production process of the statistics. At the recording and reporting stage, data are compared with data from previous years using various checking procedures. In unclear cases, data providers are contacted in order to avoid errors and find causes for changes.

3.5. Data compilation

SHA data is compiled both by a bottom-up approach as well as by a top-down approach, depending on the data source. Compilation is done by financing schemes and by different health care functions/task areas. The results of the several calculations are then aggregated.

To gain the differentiation between the different SHA-dimensions (especially HC and HP) quotas and pro-rating and utilisation keys are applied on some spending items. For some spending items it is necessary to extra-/intrapolate data as there is no up-to-date data available or data is missing for certain years. For some other spending items, estimation methods have to be applied.


Several methods are normally used for estimations:

  • Balancing item/Residual method: For example, if data are available from the financing side, which permit accurate estimation of the flows to a provider or function, then an acceptable estimation method is to subtract these expenditure flows from the total revenues, and derive the expenditure flows from the unmeasured financing scheme as a residual.
  • Pro-rating/Utilisation key: Typically in the absence of direct spending data, a utilisation key linked to the proportion of resources used can be constructed in order to distribute e.g. aggregate provider spending across functions. For every key a fraction of total utilisation within the cost-unit is assigned: fractions in the key must add up to 100% of all care delivered by the cost-unit. Examples of utilisation keys are admissions, bed-days, contacts, staffing, etc.
  • Interpolation/Extrapolation: In the absence of data for the period in question, missing values can be estimated using known data points.
  • Or other.
3.6. Adjustment

No adjusments are done.

4. Quality management Top
4.1. Quality assurance

Authorities responsible for SHA data collection are working to ensure that the statistical practices used to compile national health accounts are in compliance with SHA methodological requirements and that good practices in the field are being followed, according to the methodology underlined in the SHA 2011 Manual and European Statistics Code of Practice respecting professional independence of the statistical authorities. Procedures are in place to plan and monitor the quality of the health care expenditure statistical production process.

THL takes part in the Finnish work on improving the quality of statistics, which is coordinated by the Advisory Board of the Official Statistics of Finland (OSF).

4.2. Quality management - assessment

Overall data quality is good. Biggest uncertainty concerns breakdown of expenditure to the certain functions (ICHA-HC). Expenditure data is often received at level which does not correspond to classification of SHA 2011 health care functions (ICHA-HC). Upcoming reform to the Local governments finances statistics will help as data will be collected at more detailed level from the statistical year 2020 onwards.

5. Relevance Top
5.1. Relevance - User Needs

The main users of the SHA data in Finland are Ministries (especially The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health) and other authorities. Statistics is also targeted at decision-makers, planning officials, researchers and students in the field of social and health care and all others who need basic information on trends in health expenditure and financing and related statistics nationally and internationally.

Unmet user needs relate mostly to the timeliness and promptness of published data.

5.2. Relevance - User Satisfaction

National level users’ satisfaction survey has not been done. There is regular unofficial conversation with the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs concerning national reporting of health care expenditure.

5.3. Completeness

For HF, HC and HP classifications there are no deviations from SHA definitions. Data for HC.6.5 and HC.6.6 are missing due to lack of available data sources.

5.3.1. Data completeness - rate


6. Accuracy and reliability Top
6.1. Accuracy - overall

Overall data accuracy is good as expenditure data is gained mainly from financial reports and public administrative records. Errors in the base data lead also to errors in Health Expenditure Accounts data. Only Household Budget Survey together with national accounts private comsumption expenditures is used to estimate households’ expenditure in HC. 5.2.1 and HC.5.2.3.

6.2. Sampling error

In households' consumption survey the relative standard error is 2.5 % concerning C06 – Health.

6.2.1. Sampling error - indicators

2.5 %

6.3. Non-sampling error

Not relevant.

6.3.1. Coverage error

There should not exist any double counting in SHA figures. If noticed that double counting has been occurred, it will be eliminated and the figures will be revised.

Informal care is not included, although it should not exist in Finland. Medicines purchased outside the National Health Insurance scheme, e.g. bought from the internet, are not included. Over-coverage - rate

There shouldn’t be an over- or under- coverage of eligible units. Common units - proportion


6.3.2. Measurement error


6.3.3. Non response error

Not applicable. Unit non-response - rate

Not applicable. Item non-response - rate

Not applicable.

6.3.4. Processing error

The main sources of processing errors are typing errors for data entry and typing/logical errors in the programming code as calculation for SHA are made in SAS system. At the recording and reporting stage, the data are compared with data from previous years using various checking procedures which help detecting the errors. Imputation - rate

Not applicable.

6.3.5. Model assumption error

Not relevant.

6.4. Seasonal adjustment

Not applicable.

6.5. Data revision - policy

Data will be revised when relevant at the time of the submission of Joint OECD, Eurostat and WHO Health Accounts data (JHAQ). 

6.6. Data revision - practice

Years 2015 - 2016 have been revised due to revision on the data sources (e.g. Production and generation of income accounts). Administration cost of voluntary insurance has been estimated and added to the sum of CHE for the years 2015 -2017. Private insurance has been reclassified between compulsory and voluntary schemes for the years 2000-2017. 

6.6.1. Data revision - average size

For all HC average size of revision between 2018 JHAQ and 2019 JHAQ was -0,5 percent.

7. Timeliness and punctuality Top
7.1. Timeliness

Member States are required to transmit their data to Eurostat in compliance with the Commission Regulation 359/2015 transmission deadlines.
Data and reference metadata for the reference year T should be transmitted to Eurostat by 30 April T+2.

Aim for T-2 data is 31st March year T. Estimates for the T-1, available only at HC x HF – level, are aimed to be provided by the end of May year T.

7.1.1. Time lag - first result

Finland does not publish first results.

7.1.2. Time lag - final result

Final results are aimed to be published by the end of March T+2. 

7.2. Punctuality

Commission Regulation 359/2015 transmission deadlines were not respected during 2017 JHAQ concerning reference year 2015 figures. This was due the changes made in the statistics used as background data. Implementation of these changes to SHA calculations took more time than expected. There were no deviations from Commission Regulation 359/2015 transmission deadlines for other reference years.

7.2.1. Punctuality - delivery and publication

According to the Commission Regulation 359/2015 transmission deadlines.

8. Coherence and comparability Top
8.1. Comparability - geographical

Not applicable at national level.

8.1.1. Asymmetry for mirror flow statistics - coefficient

Not applicable.

8.2. Comparability - over time

Breaks in time series resulting from methodological changes


Items affected by the break



HC.1, HC.2, HC.3,HC.4, HC.6, HC.7, HCR.1,  HP.1, HP.2, HP.3,HP.5, HF.1.1.3, HF.2.3, FS.1.1.2

New statistics: Local government finances replaces the old statistics: Finances and activities of municipalities and joint municipal boards. This affected to the comparability items mentioned in column:Items affected by the break.

8.2.1. Length of comparable time series

From 2015.

8.3. Coherence - cross domain

SHA and ESSPROS are not comparable since ESSPROS includes also cash benefits and LTC-expenditures more broadly, also valuating of services are different. In SHA the value of the good or service is measured as equal to the sum of its production costs. In ESSPROS expenditure are more like net costs.

8.4. Coherence - sub annual and annual statistics

Not applicable.

8.5. Coherence - National Accounts

There is a link between some SHA figures and National Accounts local government sector (S1313) income and production accounts. Otherwise, no other relevant coherence with National Accounts exists.

8.6. Coherence - internal

Atypical entries:


Atypical entry




It is question about administration expenditure of Finnish student health service foundation


HC132 x HP52

It is question about dentures and dental laboratories as providers


HC71 x HP6

It is question about administration expenditure of Finnish student health service foundation, states health monitoring expenditure and client fees of general administration of health care 


HC71 x HP41

It is question about administration expenditure of medical helicopter funded by central government (HF.1.1.1)

9. Accessibility and clarity Top
9.1. Dissemination format - News release

Every year, THL publish a statistical report called Health Expenditure and Financing. The report is published in Finnish, Swedish and in English and can be retrieved here.

9.2. Dissemination format - Publications

Recent and earlier publications can be found in PDF format here. Appendix tables in Excel-format can be found from the statistics home page of the latest statistical year.

9.3. Dissemination format - online database

Currently there is no online database available in Finland. 

9.3.1. Data tables - consultations

Data is not available.

9.4. Dissemination format - microdata access

Not applicable.

9.5. Dissemination format - other

Health care expenditures are also reported in Statistics Finland’s Statistical year book.

9.6. Documentation on methodology

Background information concerning methodology can be found on the statistics home page.

9.7. Quality management - documentation

National quality description for Health Expenditure and Financing can be found here. NB: Special issues concerning the 2017 statistics will be updated during autumn 2019. 

9.7.1. Metadata completeness - rate


9.7.2. Metadata - consultations


10. Cost and Burden Top

Information concerning cost associated with the collection and production of a statistical product and burden on respondents is not available.

11. Confidentiality Top
11.1. Confidentiality - policy

The Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 on European statistics (recitals 23-27, 31-32 and Articles 20-26) applies.

Guidelines for THL's statistics can be found here. Otherwise, Statistics Finland data protection guidelines can be found here.

11.2. Confidentiality - data treatment

 Since only expenditure data from public databases and reports are used, no additional confidentiality rules are applied.

12. Comment Top


Related metadata Top

Annexes Top