Published February 26, 2010

The Ylöjärvi health kiosk receives praise for its ease of use, attentive approach and friendly service

The health kiosk in the Elo shopping centre in Ylöjärvi, which has been operating since June 2009, received an average grade of 9.1 for quality of service in a patient survey. Funded partially by Sitra, this pilot project offering walk-in health services has met with a surprisingly positive response.

Media release February 26 2010

The health kiosk in the Elo shopping centre in Ylöjärvi, which has been operating since June 2009, received an average grade of 9.1 for quality of service in a patient survey. Funded partially by Sitra, this pilot project offering walk-in health services has met with a surprisingly positive response.

The patient-oriented health kiosk brings public health services close to people’s daily life. The services are free and available to everyone, regardless of municipality of residence. Judging by the feedback, patients regarded the range of services to be sufficient. The health kiosk was praised for its ease of use, quick service and friendly staff. Typical comments included: “It’s so nice to come here, because everyone is smiling.”

The patients seem to have sensed the genuine enthusiasm of the physiotherapist and two nurses working at the kiosk. The goal of 20 patients a day was exceeded by 5 people.

New way of providing health services

“This is the first pilot project in basic healthcare in a long time, which may partly explain the interest and positive response,” says Professor Jarmo Vakkuri from the University of Tampere. According to him, the feedback reflects patient attitudes toward the traditional healthcare system.

Based on patient feedback, the kiosk expanded it services during the autumn by acquiring instruments for measuring cholesterol and haemoglobin and by holding special theme days. According to the survey, as many as 62 per cent of the patients would have been willing to pay an average of 5 to 10 euros for the services. Researchers at the University of Tampere analysed the survey results, the statistics on the number of visits and the responses to the questions in the patient survey. In addition, they interviewed 17 people, ranging from employees and supervisors to decision-makers. The results of this work were published in the Sitra Reports series.

Low threshold and attentive approach

Only one-fifth of the patients reported that they would have made an appointment in a municipal healthcare centre or sought other treatment for the reason behind their visit. Some of them, however, were directed to see a doctor because their test results indicated an illness requiring treatment.

Although nearly half of the patients visited the kiosk for minor treatments, such as blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol measurements, most of them also discussed other troubles. Some of these were related to psychosocial problems, including loneliness, family crises or substance abuse.

“In addition to routine procedures, we want to increasingly focus on health promotion and directing patients towards further treatment. The health kiosk offers us an opportunity to be close to people, identify problems in their early stages and prevent illnesses,” says Nursing Director Seija Ritala from Ylöjärvi.

New opportunities for cross-sector collaboration

The kiosk model is based on the popular Retail Clinic concept in the United States, where health kiosks provide rapid and inexpensive health care by nursing staff in shopping centres.

The research project at the University of Tampere evaluated which challenges in the Finnish healthcare system could be overcome by establishing health kiosks. The target group in Ylöjärvi consisted of patients between the ages of 50 and 70 who have a frequent need for healthcare services. In the United States, health kiosks are popular among families with young children.

“We are seeking new perspectives into offering healthcare services as well as models for making structural reforms,” says Antti Kivelä, Executive Director of Sitra’s Municipal Programme.

In addition to customer streams, researchers at the University of Tampere will study how the health kiosk in Ylöjärvi affects preventive healthcare and the long queues for appointments in municipal healthcare centres. This will require monitoring the social and healthcare services sector as a whole to explain the possible benefits of the health kiosk concept.

“The health kiosk concept is a not just a separate field, but is closely related to other municipal development projects. For this reason, the pilot project may create new and unexpected opportunities in municipal healthcare,” says Vakkuri.

According to him, the concept should be developed further to increase collaboration among and between professionals in social and healthcare services and those responsible for municipal finances.

More information

Jarmo Vakkuri, Professor, University of Tampere, tel. 03 355 16774
Anna Kork, Researcher, University of Tampere, tel. 03 355 16821
Seija Ritala, Nursing Director, Ylöjärvi, tel. 03 349 5952
Milla Järvinen, Nurse, Ylöjärvi, terveyskioski@ylojarvi.fi
Antti Kivelä, Executive Director of the Municipal Programme, Sitra, tel. 040 482 7435
Johanna Pellinen, Communications Manager, Sitra, tel. 040 561 2551

Information about publication

Terveyskioski palveluinnovaationa, Vaihe I: Peruskartoitus Ylöjärven terveyskioski -hankkeesta
Writers: Anna-Aurora Kork, Jari Stenvall, Jarmo Vakkuri (University of Tampere)
Sitran selvityksiä series (19)
ISBN 978-951-563-700-0
ISSN 1796-7112
Web publication: Sitra, 2009