Back pain is a common problem - a new remote service brings occupational physiotherapist services to your home

Musculoskeletal symptoms and illnesses remain among the main causes of sick leaves and incapacity for work.

- As an occupational physiotherapist, I find that all too often even mild musculoskeletal symptoms can become chronic and challenging problems that reduce the ability to work and functional capacity. These problems have typically been treated at doctors’ appointments, but now the skills of a physiotherapist are increasingly being utilised as a means of accelerating rehabilitation at an earlier stage, for example, through direct appointments or remote connections. In addition to these, Mehiläinen has introduced a new service that combines strong expertise with a new operating model. I had the opportunity to pilot this new service together with our corporate customers, says occupational physiotherapist Antti Pursio.

In November 2020, Mehiläinen Digital Clinic launched a Musculoskeletal Clinic service pilot, where an occupational physiotherapist supported the Digital Clinic's expert team. The Musculoskeletal Clinic serves as a chat appointment where the customer receives assistance in the treatment of acute musculoskeletal system problems. The goal is to provide efficient and solution-oriented services by providing guidance on, for example, pain management and initial self-help training as well as counselling on the progress of rehabilitation. The aim is to get the customer to the right specialist quickly and at an early stage to ensure the customer's ability to work and functional capacity. The purpose of the Musculoskeletal Clinic is to provide added value to its customers, not to replace traditional appointments altogether.

A low-threshold advisory service that offers concrete benefits to customers in terms of guidance and acute-phase exercises

The clinic is strongly characterised by a preventive approach – the aim is to provide the customer with information relevant to relieving the symptoms. Where possible, the clinic can also provide the customer with practical exercises for which they will receive written instructions as quickly and effortlessly as possible. The second objective is to protect the ability to work and functional capacity in the longer term, which, in practice, means a rapid assessment of the need for more detailed examinations or rehabilitation measures.

In most cases, a symptom may temporarily cause challenges for the customer to succeed at work, and the occupational physiotherapist can make a written recommendation to the customer about temporary work arrangements for the employer or issue a short sick leave certificate. Digital Clinic is about teamwork, which is part of Mehiläinen's multidisciplinary way of working, and it is also possible for the occupational physiotherapist to consult a doctor, if necessary.

Innovative thinking makes things flexible

During the pilot, we noticed that, from the customer's point of view, accessing the Musculoskeletal Clinic services is simple, quick and easy. Musculoskeletal symptoms are often associated with uncertainty about healing or the need for treatment, which may lead to chronic and complicated symptoms. From the point of view of occupational health care, the advantage is that customers can easily find their own care team at an early stage, which makes the work of the occupational health care service provider easier and faster.

- Innovative and courageous thinking also creates opportunities and solutions in health care services, which the coronavirus pandemic has shown, for example, in the rapid growth in the use of Mehiläinen’s Digital Clinic services. On the other hand, the same courage and innovation is also required from the users of the service and, at Mehiläinen, we feel that our customers have enabled our continuous product and service development, says Antti.

Customers have experienced the service of the Musculoskeletal Clinic as a good addition to the already extensive range of services, and the phrases ‘ease of use’ and ‘expert service’ are frequently found in the feedback. Mehiläinen's own experts feel that the Musculoskeletal Clinic challenges and teaches them a new way of working and also develops their profession in a new way.

- The new service enables a faster and more flexible way of providing help and advice to customers, and this is seen, above all, as a rewarding and meaningful way of working. Based on the feedback, it was great to see that, in addition to our customers, representatives of other professional groups also perceived us occupational physiotherapists as welcomed experts in Digital Clinic’s extensive network of experts, says Antti.

The expert consulted for this article was Mehiläinen’s Physiotherapy Development Manager and occupational physiotherapist Antti Pursio

Do you want to learn more?

You can contact your customer representative or occupational health care contact person to access the service. You can also contact us by phone at 010 414 00 (0,084 €/min) or by email at myynti@mehilainen.fi