Digital Transformation of Social and Health Care is Already Happening in Finland

I am lucky. I can’t remember the last time I went to the doctors, let alone the reason I needed to go. I try to keep fit, eat relatively healthy, don’t drink to excess and don’t smoke. I do have to take the kids to the doctors on occasion but for a long time I have not needed to see a doctor for myself.

So when we were recently discussing the integration of Real-Time Care™ into the Finnish Kanta system, I thought that it would be a good opportunity to take a look at what it does and why integrating with it is so important for Fastroi.

Digital Transformation in Progress

Kanta is a nationwide system that gives every citizen or resident of Finland the chance to access their medical records, manage their medication and prescriptions and share their requests for treatment and organ donation. The idea is to create a portal that securely connects the health service across all regions, municipalities and private care providers. There will also be a feature that allows you to upload any health or wellbeing data from smartphone apps.

Logging in to the system for the first time was simple and most importantly, very familiar. In Finland most banking activities can now be done online. To do this, there is a very secure authentication system that allows us to do this called Tupas. What makes the Tupas banking system so smart is that you can use your banking login system to log into many other official services in Finland. These include the tax office, insurance companies, other commercial systems and of course, Kanta. This universal familiarity develops trust in all of the systems that use it. When you go to the Kanta page, you are directed to your bank login service which requires a user number and a pin  to login. The pin number can be authenticated using a seperate app on your smartphone or through a disposable pin system where numbers are crossed off a card as they are used. Once the account is authenticated, you are taken to your personal Kanta pages.

When was your last Tetanus jab?

As I looked through the various pages for the first time, I saw my own rather sparse medical history. I was reminded that almost 2 years ago I visited the doctors to receive treatment for a dog bite. I was able to read the report from the visit to the doctors and found the tetanus jab and antibiotics they gave me. (Who remembers when they had their last tetanus jab?) There was the prescription with all all of the instructions, dosage, the pharmacy I went to and even the price of the medicine. If I had needed to have a repeat prescription, I would have been able to order it online as well.

I can also see my children’s pages as well, and there are even sections for a living will, organ donation (duly updated!) and a section that gives consent and authorisation to use the information.

High Quality Integrations are Key to Kanta’s Potential

While I am not a heavy user of the medical system, it is clear that having access to this kind of system will have massive benefits for everyone who uses the service. Fastroi are now working to be able to integrate their Real-Time Care™ system into the Kanta system so that both systems can take advantage of a truly connected service that empowers everyone with access to their own data. As more services integrate into it, then it will only become better.

For us at Fastroi, being able to connect to Kanta is a huge priority, not just because in the future it will be mandatory for the Finnish health and social care sectors, but also because it brings us a step closer to having services that are focussed on the patients and service users. Call it ‘patient centric’ or ‘joined up care’ if you will, this is the real result of a clear vision to have a truly digital health and social care system in Finland. The project will take multiple years of development for Fastroi with the first phases being delivered this year. We also believe that it will benefit not only our customers – the service providers, but also their customers and their families.

Why Should I Invest in Care Management Software?

Any time you are thinking of investing in new tools for your business it is best to start with asking yourself what you want the software to do for you?  Working out what you want to achieve with the investment is a key question that needs answering. There are many factors that could affect your decision, from inspection ratings, GDPR readiness to improving staff retention and morale. The strongest driver needs to be the desire to improve the quality of care within the organisation. So the software needs to be able to achieve many different things at the same time.

What Do You Need from the Software?

Understanding the drivers is probably the best place to start. In other words, what parts of your business do you need to improve? This is not about putting together a feature list or a set of functional descriptions, more like a high level set of areas that need to be improved. For example:

  • Improving operational efficiency
  • Better care environment
  • Improve regulatory compliance
  • Better performance at inspections
  • Better information storage
  • Reduce staff turnover

Once the drivers have been identified, the task of identifying the features that will help you to achieve the drivers that you have just identified.

Get Creative!

Many vendors will have the basic functionality such as scheduling, rosters, staff & client management or invoicing or payroll. This will be a good starting point to start looking at what else is available. At this point it might be worth getting creative and asking yourselves the question – Wouldn’t it be great if we could……..? This gives you a great opportunity to do two things. The first is to start a relationship with your eventual software provider. If they are serious about what they do, they will be very keen to work with you and to develop their products to suit your requirements. The best ideas often come from the people working at the coal face. The second opportunity is to look at your own business and look for the areas that need improving. By bringing the staff together to look for new software to help manage the business, you can engage the staff and get a good picture of where the software can help improve things for everyone. This will also have the effect of getting buy in from the organisation which will be very important when it comes to implementing the new product. Change is always easier to implement if it is driven by the whole organisation not just the management or IT department.

Juggling the Benefits

By moving from a paper based management system to a digital care management system, we would expect to see significant improvements in the business. The interesting aspect is how broad the range of improvements can be. Some of them will have clear financial benefits, while others will improve the overall quality of care being provided. One of the key advantages is the possibility to measure the improvements. By having a single digital record every action can be recorded. Every task can be marked as done and every report filed quickly and easily. As a result, every driver that was identified as needing to be improved can be measured. By measuring , then it can be improved. This goes for CQC inspections, better financial performance, greater efficiency leads to greater scalability of the business with increased quality or simply reducing medicinal errors. It all adds to a better care environment.

This post isn’t aimed at highlighting one particular vendor over another or one feature over another, but rather to highlight how important it is to look at your own business as a whole when trying to decide on the best care management software for you. A comprehensive system should be able to give you benefits across the whole of your business which is why it  is important to understand where you are and what needs improving. Less functional software may need to be replaced early while many vendors may not have that much experience to fall back on when bringing their new products to the market. Do your homework, ask questions and above all, understand what your really need.