Published November 15, 2016

Everyone has a personal healthcare clinic at home: "The Finns have gone too far this time”

The video tells the story of a man who comes to a virtual clinic because of back pain and subsequently receives professional help for his condition.

Symptom evaluation using a diverse range of information sources, no queues, and a remote link to healthcare professionals when needed. The virtual clinic means that soon every Finn will have a personal healthcare clinic at home.

If you have a sore back and want to talk to a healthcare professional about it, you’re probably used to visiting your own healthcare centre or occupational healthcare.

In these situations, some people spend less time waiting than others and in practice everyone has had to physically visit a clinic, regardless of whether moving around is painful or not.

The virtual clinic concept developed by Sitra and its partners gives every Finn access to the benefits of digitisation, which includes saving time and providing a more comprehensive assessment of the need for treatment and better care.

A “secret weapon” provides information, assistance and self-care instructions as needed

Learn more about the virtual clinic by watching this recently released video, which examines the Finnish healthcare system’s “secret weapon” from an international perspective.

“Finnish healthcare is world famous, but this time they have gone too far. Just think about it – every Finn has a personal healthcare clinic at home,” explains the narrator.

The video tells the story of a man who comes to a virtual clinic because of back pain and subsequently receives professional help for his condition.

The customer plays an active role in the service and treatment recommendations are personalised. The virtual clinic combines information provided by the service user with patient information from the healthcare system and proven medical knowledge. Based on the information, the virtual clinic and, if necessary, a multidisciplinary team assess the need for treatment, which can, for example, be a remote connection to a doctor or physiotherapist or self-care instructions.

In addition to assessing symptoms, the virtual clinic helps maintain health. Users can perform an electronic health check-up with the service and determine the state of their health. If needed, the service provides access to diverse support for lifestyle makeovers – both electronically and from healthcare professionals.

Hämeenlinna is a pioneer – more and more routine measurements are performed at home

The city of Hämeenlinna is at the forefront of virtual clinic development with its minunterveyteni.fi (my health) service, which has been available to all Hämeenlinna residents since the beginning of 2015. The service concept is still under development.

“This year, we’ve added self-measurements performed by customers to our range of services for treating blood pressure, diabetes and asthma,” says Ilona Rönkkö, Project Manager for e-services in Hämeenlinna. “Video conferencing services allow us to offer customers new interaction methods.”

The virtual clinic concept was selected as the model for national electronic health services in early 2016. The concept is currently being disseminated nationwide in the ODA project (self-care and digital value services), which is part of the government’s key project to digitise public services. More information is available here.

Tuula Tiihonen, who led the virtual clinic development work at Sitra, says that the time is finally right for giving people the chance to handle health issues at home without queues.

“In many sectors, this has already been possible for a long time, and now we can do the same in healthcare. It also saves time for healthcare professionals, which can then be focused on treatment work rather than managing queues and congestion,” explains Tiihonen.

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