Finnish public social and healthcare services took a significant digital step forward this year, when the digital Omaolo service was introduced.
If you have been thinking that fast and time-saving digital healthcare services are primarily only available at private health clinics, it is now definitely time to think again: public social and healthcare services are now in the game too, and well able to compete with the rest.
The basic healthcare solutions of the future will better facilitate the use of social and healthcare services through assessing people’s symptoms and service needs while they are still at home.
The online Omaolo service uses the answers provided by the user to direct them towards either receiving home care or first-aid or booking an appointment at, for example, their local health centre. Through the service, the user can also find out if they are entitled to support for informal care or to transport services or personal assistance.
Time-saving, cost-effective, and with shorter waiting periods
A significant amount of visits to basic healthcare services could be replaced with online appointments, including for example repeat prescriptions and provision of health advice. Unnecessary visits can easily put a strain on healthcare services, and Omaolo seeks to provide an answer to just this problem, thus reducing the workload of healthcare professionals. Online appointments would free up time, space and energy for face-to-face meetings with patients that truly require them.
In 2015 KPMG, one of the world’s leading expert organisations, produced an assessment which concluded that the effectiveness of the My Digital Services (ODA) project is based precisely on the development of accessibility and productivity and the improvement of care outcomes over the long term.
According to the same assessment, the digital service channel will bring around €30 million of savings per year to local municipalities and will reduce call numbers by 22.5%.
By drawing on the Finnish Duodecim medical database and Current Care Guidelines, the symptom assessments provided are of consistently high quality and do not lead to unnecessary visits to the health centre. In addition, every response given to every question produces more preliminary structural data which is saved in the patient records and utilised by healthcare professionals.
“The Omaolo service provides a common data sharing environment for citizens and professionals. Both parties have access to the care plan which has been made based on the symptom assessment. This is truly a customer-orientated approach: we are focusing particularly on the functionality of the interface from the perspective of professionals’ work processes and care work as a whole.” – Ville Salaspuro, Medical Director
Health promotion and disease prevention as part of the service
In the long term, the Omaolo service will also be significant for disease prevention. In 2019, the service will provide, in addition to symptom assessments, a variety of well-being checks and trainings which are aimed at analysing the user’s current state of health and to encourage them to make lasting lifestyle changes. The service can keep a record of all individual care and services received, symptom assessments, and instructions provided by professionals.
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