Finnish Student Health Service offers digital services to digital natives

Net 2/2015,  2015-11-12

Finnish Student Health Service is continually expanding its digital services. Students have given positive feedback on its appointment call-back service, for example.

Nation-wide, university students receive services from Finnish Student Health Service (YTHS), to which the university towns have transferred the responsibility for student health care. YTHS provides these services with uniforFinnish Student Health Service offers digital services to digital nativesm quality throughout the country.

Every new student will receive an electronic health questionnaire to map out their overall situation. Public health nurses will review the responses. Should there be need for support or care, they will act right away.

”We use a secure communication channel where our public health nurse and a student can exchange information,” says CIO Sauli Kleemola of YTHS.

The call-back service, which is built on Fujitsu’s system, was launched back in February 2012. Following the pilot project, the system was first deployed in Helsinki and Espoo, after which it was quickly rolled out to all the university towns of the country. Currently the service covers 130,000 students and 600 staff members. 

With the call-back system, students have two site-specific numbers to call. One of them is reserved for general health and mental health services while the other is for oral health services. The caller leaves their problem and contact information on the phone, and receives a call-back within the same day.

”Previously calls tended to pile up particularly on Mondays and in the mornings. While the calls still peak in the mornings, now we are able to process them during the day and use our resources more evenly,” Kleemola says.

Better service every day of the week

After a three-year experience it was time to upgrade the system, and a new version of the SAP application was rolled out last year.

”The menus in oral and general health care were unified, and mental health services were included in the call-back system,” says software analyst Pirjo Äijö-Isohella of YTHS.

The shorter appointment hours in July facilitate the upgrading of software and the replacement of computers. This summer they overhauled the patient record system, which will allow the building of new customer portals.

For example, the services related to time management will be migrated to a new platform. With this, YTHS aims to allow students not only to cancel their appointments but also to change them online. Then they will not have to call the system again, but the computer will update the calendar. They hope that the system will support all end devices.

”The solution is still under development but it is our ambitious goal to have it up and running by the end of the year. Next year we will also have new solutions related to e-services and forms built on the same platform,” Kleemola says.

”In our effort to diversify our e-services we have conducted some experiments, such as video doctor service. Thereby students could contact a video doctor at YTHS premises using an iPad. This would allow the organization to offer the services of health care professionals in all of its units.”

Disease tests as a remote service

YTHS is continually increasing its e-services to better serve its customers. Since September, students have been able to have themselves tested for chlamydia and the clap remotely. The service is free of charge for YTHS customers.

When a student suspects infection, they will digitally authenticate and sing in the system and order a sample-taking kit. Then, the student will send their urine sample in the sample tube in the package they received to the lab without any postage fee. 

The customer will receive an SMS message when the test results are ready. They can then check the results on the YTHS portal. If the test is positive the customer shall contact YTHS for treatment. If they fail to do so, YTHS will contact the infected person. 

The new e-service runs on the service portal provided by Yhtyneet Medix laboratoriot Oy at The authentication solution is built by Fujitsu.

Text Marita Kokko
Photo Kirsi Tuura
Translation Päivi Vuoriaro

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Published in the Net Magazine 2/2015,  2015-11-12

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