Public Health Booster – Project which brings startup thinking into health care

I took part in a Public Health Booster Workshop held in the Laurea Tikkurila Campus – a project formed together by the Laurea University of Applied Sciences, City of Vantaa and HealthSPA – the Finnish health ecosystem booster, a non-profit association for health startups, with its main aim at placing Finland among the top best in healthcare. HealthSpa creates events, like this workshop, which matchmake healthcare professionals, students and startups and make it possible to improve the customer experience in healthcare and create new opportunities in cooperation.

Hanna Vartia, HealthSpa

Hanna Vartia, HealthSpa

First we heard the opening words of Hanna Vartia from HealthSpa who introduced the main purpose of the workshop. This autumn, Laurea healthcare students have taken part in the Public Health Booster Project by interviewing startups, City of Vantaa healthcare professionals and their clients. With knowledge of the existing problems that needed to be tackled they tried to find solutions to the challenges. After the HealthSpa introduction, Laurea’s V.C. Kyösti Väkeväinen explained that annually 30 startups were formed among Laurea´s 7,000 students, making Laurea a cradle of innovators and innovations. The next speech was held by vice-mayor Jukka Salminen who said that the health care system “is not healthy” and should undergo a comprehensive innovation process with startups taking ideas to the next level and creating the kind of services the citizens would be willing to pay for and to buy straight from them.

Petteri Hirvonen, Klinik

Petteri Hirvonen, Klinik, http://www.klinik.fi

Next, Petteri Hirvonen introduced the project Klinik, which enables us to take better care of our health. Together with patients, doctors and other experts, they have developed an easy-to-use health service with which it takes just two to three clicks to get a proper understanding of what´s worrying a patient. Klinik changes the way we look for and find the right health care professionals. Klinic has filled a niche in the health service market because according to the statistics, 80 % of adults want an immediate answer to their health-related questions. Klinik uses simple language on their pages without any latin explanations which makes the text easy to understand for just about anyone. The Klinik service has made a breakthrough with as many as 100,000 visitors to its websites in a single month. Petteri Hirvonen proves how important an electronic evaluation of the need for treatment is because the modern healthcare

The usual patient treating path includes many ineffective points

The usual patient treating path includes many ineffective points

customer is active and aware and according to the statistics, 86 % of adult patients have consulted internet before making an appointment with a practitioner. He also pointed out the importance of big savings on unnecessary doctor appointments as the system can send the patient straight to the lab if it deems it appropriate, instead of the patient first visiting a nurse who then instructs them to go for blood tests. The pointless appointments, long waiting times and the feeling of not being properly heard often lead to no-shows.

Anna-Maija Sulonen, BookNHeal, www.vapaatajat.fi

Anna-Maija Sulonen, BookNHeal, http://www.vapaatajat.fi

The next interesting story was shared with us by Anna-Maija Sulonen of VapaatAjat.fi who started a whole new innovation project after a personal experience. A few years ago, she was diagnosed with severe depression and realized how difficult it is (especially for a depressed person who just feels like laying in bed) to contact a mental health professional.

She showed us sheets proving tha  in the worst case getting help can take more than a year. She compared the confusing steps needed to get mental treatment to the London underground. Anna-Maija claimed that many mental professionals (up to 40 %) don´t even have a website and those who do, haven´t updated since the nineties. Whenever she managed to find a mental health provider the only contact information available was a phone number that would be perpetually busy. So she created a website that became the fastest route to finding help as it is used by 200 mental health professionals in Finland. The web-based service matches clients and psychologists on the basis of key words – What kind of help do I need? Where is the nearest help available? Who can help me, as there is a whole range of different psychotherapists specialized in cognitive behaviour therapy, emotionally focused therapy, family constellation, integrative body psychotherapy etc.

The display on how work-intensive searching for a mental professional can be

An example of how labour-intensive searching for a mental professional can be

 

Comparison of the demanding search for a mental professional to the London subway maze

Comparing the demanding search for a mental professional to the complex London underground

In the afternoon we were divided into four groups, each one working on a separate challenge. Each group consisted of Laurea students, City of Vantaa health professionals and startups. Our group was presented with the following issues:

  1. Supporting self management in different health issues and diseases
  • How to get the measurement readings from clients at home to the nurses and doctors at the health centers?
    2.  Navigating inside the health care centre
  • How to help the clients find the right place without the staff guiding them?

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    Our team working on the presentation

One of our team members started by telling  us about his recent experience with the collection of blood pressure readings. Every time his PAPER diary for blood pressure entries got full (approx. every 2 weeks) he had to go to the Malmi Terveystalo to get a new one. He asked the doctor to e-mail him an electronic version but they didn´t have any! So the patient suggested he would enter the data in an Excel file and send it to the doctor electronically. We realized how outdated the existing health system had become and agreed it needed new technology to boost it. We started solving the problem by creating a new mobile application which would automatically transfer the readings

Our team working on how to solve an issue how to get the patients readings from their homes to the health centre

Our team working on how to get the patients readings from their homes to the health centre

from the blood pressure monitor directly to the health care personnel. The client would get an automatic reply in case all the results were within the allowed range. If the results were alarming, the nurse/doctor would get an alert and evaluate them. On the basis of the evaluation, the health professional would invite the patient for a check-up or send a message stating the worsened health situation and suggesting a follow-up. This way we would not only cut tremendously on the health costs – as shown on our drawing of too many patients queuing in front of a hospital/health centre in comparison to one member of health staff checking the results automatically arriving to the computer programme – but also patient satisfaction would improve as he/she would get regularly a comforting message on their health situation. Also their relative would always receive the same message from the automat/health professional as a back-up. The same App would have a GPS and navigating the client inside the health care, beeping when he has arrived at the right door. We named our innovation Systeri evoking the Big Sister being in charge and making sure everything is OK and came up with the slogan “Systeri is better than mystery” (which was my idea :-)). There was a jury listening to our presentations and voting for the best team. However, two proposals were so good (ours among those two) that the jury had to split the award in half and distinguish two teams instead of one.

Written by Jana Arhio, Laurea​

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