With a rapidly ageing population, Finland is preparing to completely overhaul its healthcare and welfare systems. Integration between the different services and putting the patient at the center of a comprehensive treatment plan will be critical. Distances and adverse weather conditions mean that, where possible, it is better for patients to receive care within their home environment. With clever use of technology, Finland is pioneering the field of advanced home care.
Harri Kumpulainen, Development Manager with Istekki, explains the specific challenges: “We have 11,000 healthcare and welfare professionals in our northern-Savo region. With the government reforms they will all need to adopt new processes. Many of these are already in practice, but different organizations have implemented them in slightly different ways, making it difficult to share data and provide integration between services. We have an issue at the moment with locating hospital patients. If a patient moves between wards, there isn’t a clear record of where they are and when they will be back. Relatives may visit and not be able to find the patient.”
Any processes in place were manual and paper-based, with form-filling taking up a lot of time. Where IT systems were in use, data would need to be rekeyed across different systems. Istekki looked for IT solutions to help clients automate their processes, in readiness for the government reforms. Kumpulainen: “This wasn’t easy. We could really only find process monitoring solutions, nothing that would really guide our clients through building and following processes.”
Working together with Chainalytics, specialists in logistics and supply chain management, Istekki was introduced to Micro Focus Solutions Business Manager (SBM) and Service Request Center (SRC). Solutions Business Manager is designed to orchestrate and automate processes and provide transparency across an organization. With the Finnish healthcare and welfare sector in flux, having a flexible solution so that processes can easily be customized and adapted is very important.
Kumpulainen illustrates some of the processes that have been developed using SBM: “Healthcare and welfare agencies work together to support patients in their own home. Elderly people are often visited two or three times a day by home care nurses. We have experimented with replacing a home visit with the option to request a video conference instead. It was great to see our elderly people readily adopting this SBM-driven process and, moreover, liking it. It gives them more independence and another channel to use in an emergency. The home care agencies like the fact that they can see the clients, as a picture often tells more than just a phone call. Emergency services are scarce in some remote regions and this service ensures resources are best utilized.”
Istekki’s online chat and video services have been extended to many more patients, such as diabetes patients who can now enter basic health check information into a portal, and be referred to a video conference with a doctor if the results warrant this. It is also used for follow-up and rehabilitation appointments, as well as for potentially contagious people, such as Tuberculosis patients who need to stay in isolation, but in close contact with a medical team.
SRC offers a one-stop, centralized request center for organizations. Istekki have used SRC to develop a novel service for one of its university hospital clients: “Hospital ward staff can order transportation for a patient when they need to be moved between wards or go for surgery or tests. Transportation services will collect the patient from the ward and scan their wristband with a mobile device. This will confirm all the details and it will also check the patient out of the ward and follow their movements. When the transportation has been completed, the order can be closed by mobile device.”
The cooperation with Chainalytics has brought Istekki endless possibilities to develop and maintain processes with SBM and SRC. Healthcare and welfare professionals already work much closer together through technology to help them save time and put their patients first.
Kumpulainen concludes: “Working with Chainalytics and the Micro Focus solutions is a great experience. We hadn’t quite appreciated all the possibilities and the flexibility we have to really custom-design processes together with our customers and help them provide superior patient care.”