E-services revolutionise occupational healthcare
Connectivity is creating new options for healthcare that save both time and money for a company.
Technology now makes it possible for a patient to meet an occupational healthcare professional via a video service. Vantaan Työterveys is developing such an operating model. “A virtual doctor's appointment is the first step toward occupational healthcare of tomorrow. This new approach will inevitably bring many changes during the next five years,” says Anne-Marie Hovi, Managing Director of Vantaan Työterveys.
This public-service company, which offers occupational healthcare services in Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, and Kauniainen, is starting its virtual transformation using video. This means patients can soon obtain treatment instructions or receive a sick note from the comfort of their own home.
New corporate customers will be able to hold contract negotiations through video conferencing and, in some cases, arrange a virtual visit to the workplace. Similarly, an occupational health nurse will able to participate in a labour protection committee meeting directly from the clinic. “It is, of course, cheaper when companies no longer need to cover the travel expense of the occupational health nurse,” Hovi says.
First step into virtual world
The virtual service will be initially piloted for medical examinations and general appointments. That said, a large number of doctor visits will still need to take place at an occupational health centre. A representative of the occupational healthcare service will also need to perform an on-site review of the workplace if the company's business involves matters of occupational safety, such as chemicals.
In the near future, mobile technology may offer solutions that allow for remote communication, for instance, measuring blood sugar levels from the ear using a mobile phone or monitoring the heartbeat, with a cloud service transmitting the information to an occupational healthcare professional.
For Vantaan Työterveys, they already make their patients’ lives significantly easier. At the same time, they receive customer feedback, which will be useful when moving forward. DNA provides the equipment and connections for the project, and has participated in other similar pilot projects within the public administration sector.
“We are happy to plan new operating models with our customers to help them improve the services they can offer to their customers,” says Riku Römpötti, Solution Marketing Manager at DNA's corporate business.
Remote services spreading
>The project in Vantaa is part of "Kotikäyttökokeilua" (project material currently available only in Finnish) sponsored by the Ministry of Finance, aimed at promoting the use of online services. >“This project involves several pilots that are being used to find the best ways to develop remote services without large monetary investments,” says Nora London>, Project Coordinator from the Ministry of Finance.
The pilot project will result in a handbook for the public sector which will facilitate the implementation of virtual services. >The first experiences indicate that both municipalities and residents have eagerly embraced the services. The term “remote service” is no longer misleading; this approach to patient care actually brings the services closer to them.
“Those who have participated have requested that we keep these e-services going,” London says.