Patient waiting times dropped from 10+ days to near zero after digital service implementation in Harjun Terveys

Harjun Terveys managed to reduce patient waiting times and provide same day access to primary health care by increasing doctor efficiency with the help of the BeeHealthy platform.

Harjun Terveys, a Joint Venture Company established by Mehiläinen and the Päijät Häme region in Finland, took the BeeHealthy platform in use at the beginning of 2021. After the deployment of the platform, service availability has risen to an outstanding level with patient waiting times dropping from 10+ days to near zero.  

Harjun Terveys is responsible for public primary health care services (outpatient care, dental care) for the 130 000 residents of Päijät-Häme. Harjun Terveys’ key target is to provide the residents excellent quality and well available public primary care services in a cost-effective way. This is sought through new ways of arranging and producing services. 

‘’We provide the services based on a fixed capitation fee, which means that our aim is to have an outstanding level of availability and to produce the services in a cost-efficient manner, rather than a fee for service model to optimise the number of visits’’ says Joonas Turunen, CEO of start-up phase of Harjun Terveys. 

Excellent service availability with digital services

Harjun Terveys’ primary health care services operate on a queue-free operating model, where the patients care starts from the first point of contact and when necessary, with a physical appointment, that is offered on the same or next day. All residents in the Päijät Häme region also have access to care through Digital Clinic, through which they can seek medical help remotely. 

‘’Digital services have enabled the resident’s new ways of accessing health services. The 24/7 access to Digital Clinic is easy and patients can use the services from the comfort of their own homes’’ Turunen adds. 

Digital services also have increased doctor efficiency significantly, meaning that doctors can treat multiple patients simultaneously and faster, without compromising on quality. Digital Clinic has moved a significant share of service demand from the brick and mortar to the digital channel.  

Meeting patient service needs with multi-specialty care teams

In addition to digital services, Harjun Terveys operates in a multi-specialty care team model, meaning that professionals from different disciplines, such as doctors, nurses, dental hygienists, psychiatric nurses, physiotherapists, and social care workers, work as a team. Addressing the patients’ service needs begins immediately at first contact, without unnecessary queueing to access services. In the care team model, the service demand is always met during the same day with a major share of the service capacity being booked proactively by the care team. 

Since having the BeeHealthy digital platform up and running, I dare to say that we have the best public digital healthcare services in the country’’ rejoices Turunen. 

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Immediate access and convenience – patients love Digital Clinic over traditional visits

Comparing Digital Clinic and face-to-face appointments from patient’s perspective

In Finland, the traditional and most preferred model to seek help for illnesses and other health issues is to have a face-to-face appointment with a medical doctor at a health clinic. Therefore, patients do not easily or self-evidently think that digital chat-based appointments are a suitable solution for them. Willingness to use digital chat-based appointments is higher in younger people whereas older age groups are more reluctant in adopting digital services. For comparison, 27 % of Finns between 15-34 years of age used chat-based appointments in 2020 whereas only 5 % of those older than 55 did that. 

However, the COVID-19 pandemic created a spike in the demand of digital health care services. Then, daily consultations jumped up from 500 to 6000, which shows that Digital Clinic, fully digital healthcare platform for patients and healthcare providers developed by Mehiläinen, became a critical enabler to health care during the pandemic. Since then, Digital Clinic visits have grown exponentially as users have seen the fast, efficient and easy-access service it offers.  

Small, urgent or unsure medical needs, such as prescription renewal or referrals, are common reasons for seeking medical help through Digital Clinic. Digital Clinic allows patients to check whether they need medical help or a face-to-face appointment. Some illnesses, for example urinary tract infection, have symptoms that make it difficult or even impossible to go to a health clinic. In these cases, Digital Clinic is a very appreciated, fast solution. 

Quick access to treatment

74 % of Finns rate speed of service as the most important factor when choosing their health care provider. When in need of medical help, patients want to get the appointment at their earliest convenience. Digital Clinic has an advantage over the traditional solution because patients can access medical help within minutes or even seconds without leaving their home, independent of time and place. 

In addition to speed of service, patients don’t want to bend on quality of service; medical expertise, confidence-inspiring interaction and politeness are elements of high-quality service patients expect. Studies indicate that patients’ expectations towards a chat appointment are the same as towards a face-to-face appointment. 

From the patient’s perspective, the most prominent advantage of Digital Clinic is the fact that the clinic offers fast 24/7 access to medical help without leaving their home. When patients visit Digital Clinic with medical needs that can be treated at the clinic, their feedback is positive and genuinely positively surprised. This occurs especially after their first visit or when critically urgent needs could be solved. These positive experiences typically inspire them to recommend the clinic to their circle of friends and acquaintances. Digital Clinic has revolutionised the way health care is provided and how patients more and more perceive it as their first place to seek medical help. 

Digital Clinic
A fully digital healthcare platform developed by Mehiläinen provided for both healthcare providers and patients. Digital Clinic enables agile work for health care professionals and enables quick and easy access to patients in matters related to their health. In Digital Clinic, patients are able to get prescriptions and referrals quickly, find a professional nearby and reach out to health care professionals through chat in minutes. Digital Clinic offers quick, accessible and affordable health care.


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