The health kiosk concept to be included more extensively in basic healthcare services?
According to the final evaluation report by the University of Tampere, the Ylöjärvi health kiosk combines the advantages of a small unit and a limited nurse-level service range, enabling a new kind of cost management. The health kiosk in Ylöjärvi has improved service availability by introducing an additional service location in the municipality’s service offering. The customers have also been happy with the service. Based on this experience, Sitra’s Municipal Programme wants to promote the establishment of 50 new health kiosks by the end of 2013.
The final evaluation of the Ylöjärvi health kiosk compiles and summarises the observations made during the two-year follow-up study. The results of the study indicate that the operations of the Ylöjärvi health kiosk are relatively inexpensive: the total expenditure for the two years was less than €250,000. There were more than 16,000 visits to the health kiosk, which nearly amounts to two-thirds of the visits to the main healthcare centre. Based on the number of visits, there has been a demand for the health kiosk, and some treatment tasks by nurses have been successfully rerouted from the main healthcare centre to the health kiosk. The customers graded the quality and selection of nurse-level services 9.3 (10 being the best grade possible).
Health kiosk for more cost-effective service production
According to the study, the nurse focus and compact organisation structure of the health kiosk create preconditions for a new kind of cost management in healthcare. “At their best, the easy access of the health kiosk concept and the open reception activities can decrease the direct expenditure of service production. In addition, municipalities should focus on the functionality of the entire health service system and on cooperation between different actors. Therefore, it is also very important to manage the system’s indirect expenditure,” says Jarmo Vakkuri, Professor of Local Government Accounting and Finance at the University of Tampere.
Whereas the focus of the health kiosk in Lahti has been on health counselling, in Ylöjärvi the main goal has been to improve access to health services in a customer-oriented manner and to reduce the number of visits to and shorten waiting times at health care centres. According to the study, productivity could be improved through the reorganisation of customer flows if routine tasks were assigned to health kiosks and healthcare centres focused on difficult tasks. This would require that the role of each service location be identified and developed, and that the customer demand be routed accordingly.
The health kiosk concept’s easy access and the opportunity to quickly obtain an answer to health questions makes it possible to address diseases on time. At their best, early addressing of health issues and follow-up of long-term diseases can also promote the management of cost development.
“Based on the health kiosk, we have started considering that we would increase the amount of reception activities that would generally operate without booking appointments. We are considering the introduction of a more extensive easy-access service module in Ylöjärvi,” says Kari Virta, Director of Social and Health Services of the City of Ylöjärvi.
The replication of international models as the innovation strategy?
“The results of the piloting are encouraging and we want to distribute the health kiosk concept more extensively in the Finnish municipal sector. Our goal is that 50 health kiosks would be established in Finland during the next two years,” says Antti Kivelä of Sitra’s Municipal Programme. The third health kiosk in Finland will be opened in Kotka on 1 September 2011 and the fourth in Lahti on 29 September 2011. Further new launches will possibly take place later in the autumn.
“Through the health kiosk piloting, our aim has also been to test in practice whether international service innovations can be replicated and applied successfully in Finland. We want to initiate a discussion related to replication as an innovation strategy. I am confident that different sectors could more extensively update service production and make it more effective by replicating concepts that have been successful in other countries, and to achieve financial growth through those means, thereby restraining increases in expenditures,” says Kivelä.
Jarmo Vakkuri, Professor of Local Government Accounting and Finance, University of Tampere School of Management, phone: +358 3 3551 6356, +358 40 516 2479
Kari Virta, Director of Health and Social Services, City of Ylöjärvi, tel. 050 337 5168
Public health services in a shopping centre, Final report on the Ylöjärvi health kiosk, Sitra Reports 56 (in Finnish) »
ISBN 978-951-563-773-4 (http://www.sitra.fi)
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