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Could the health kiosk model satisfy the demand for availability and savings in towns and villages across Finland?
Public health services need to be more efficient while satisfying customers' demands for readily available help. This can be aided by emphasising preventive measures.
The Health Kiosk has several aims: to reach groups at risk earlier, increase work and customer satisfaction, help control local economies and promote the renewal of the health care structure.
Health kiosks are low-threshold service points located in the daily environment of the customer, in places like shopping centres. They offer basic health services from a nurse, give preventive advice and carry out minor procedures.
Health Kiosks provide the customer with access to services without appointment and even at evenings and at weekends. Being located in shopping centres and providing flexible access keeps the focus on the customer.
With nurse-level services provided by health kiosks, there is less telephone traffic and fewer customers at health clinics. Doctor's appointments can then be given to patients who really need them. This benefits the providers and the users.
Ready availability of the service lowers the threshold of getting treatment. Counselling and early detection of health problems may stop illnesses and reduce the need for treatment – and reduce costs.
A health kiosk is a cost-efficient municipal service point. The light organisational structure and focus on selected services enable cost-efficient production of services.
Sitra's Municipal Programme has spent two years researching and testing a low-threshold model for health care. The Health Kiosk is based on the Retail Clinic idea developed in the United States. The model will form part of an overall restructuring of health care provision.
Health kiosks operate as units of the local health centre and are a part of basic local health care services. A health kiosk provides low-threshold health care with a focus on the needs of the customer. The service is provided by a qualified nurse from locations that are easily accessible, such as shopping centres. In a health kiosk, nurse's services are available without appointment and are free of charge, even in the evenings and on Saturdays.
Health kiosks may offer the following services, according to local needs:
Finland's first health kiosk was opened in June 2009 in the Elo shopping centre in Ylöjärvi, and the second in the Trio shopping centre in Lahti. The first health kiosk to be opened in a major city, Lahti, was able to benefit from the positive experience gained in Ylöjärvi.
These two-year experimental and research projects supported by Sitra's Municipal Programme have been used to test how a low-threshold service will benefit the following:
The University of Tampere provided a neutral evaluation of the impacts of the two-year experiments on the health care services of Ylöjärvi and Lahti and recognised a number of best practices that could be used in other municipal services. The results take into consideration the current health care services and operations, as well as customer and personnel satisfaction.
The evaluation of the health kiosk has been carried out in three stages:
The health kiosk evaluation reports for 2009–2011 can also be found in the publication section of the site.
The experience gained from the Ylöjärvi and Lahti health kiosks is now ready to become more widespread throughout Finland. The model has been publicised by Sitra's Municipal Programme since autumn 2011, and the objective now is to establish 50 health kiosks in Finland over the next two years.
Sitra has compiled a basic health kiosk guide for local authorities detailing the experiences at the Ylöjärvi and Lahti kiosks. The guide provides information to support the planning and launching of operations. The guide can be ordered from Sitra.
The right to use the health kiosk (terveyskioski) name is based on an agreement between Sitra and Luontaistuote Oulun Natural Oy, which owns the rights to the name. The name can be adopted by municipalities, regional health care operators and other public health care operators to be used in basic health care services provided in accordance with the Primary Health Care Act. Due to the agreement, however, the use of the health care name and trademark require an agreement with Sitra.
Use the links to take a closer look at the local operation of health kiosks.