Better primary healthcare for Päijät-Häme

A year ago, the Päijät-Häme region was considering its options for organising primary healthcare. There were clear needs to improve services, provide quicker access to medical care and extend service hours.

The situation with primary services was more challenging than with specialised healthcare, which functions smoothly in the region.

We started to work on the challenges under the lead of Marina Erhola, Managing Director of the Päijät-Häme Joint Authority for Health and Wellbeing.

- We soon came to the conclusion that, in order to reach our goals, we need the support of a strong partner for our primary healthcare services, one with particularly strong expertise in digital services, says Erhola.

Mehiläinen was selected as the partner for the joint venture model in an intense tendering procedure under the Contracts Act with an offer that received the highest quality score. The transition project started in August 2020 accompanied by lively public debate.

Expectations of flexibility, accessibility and teamwork

Harjun terveys, the joint venture of the Päijät-Häme Joint Authority for Health and Wellbeing and Mehiläinen, is responsible for social and health centre services in Lahti, Kärkölä and Iitti from the beginning of 2021. Expectations for the joint venture are high: the goal is to provide residents with the best social and health centre services in the country. This will be sought through new ways of arranging and producing services.

- My expectation is that the new digital services will in certain ways transform the entire operating model, says Erhola.

- Services can be allocated better and more effectively. In addition, existing resources can be used to achieve better quality, access to care and flexibility. This is at the core of digital solutions.

Digital services will first and foremost benefit the local residents, who will have new ways of accessing health services. Access to care will be easier and customers can use the services from the comfort of their own homes.

In addition to digital services, the tender focused on a teamwork model that aims to address the challenges of working in primary healthcare. In the team model, professionals from different disciplines, such as doctors, nurses, dental hygienists, physiotherapists and social counselors, work as a team. Addressing the customers’ service needs begins immediately at first contact, without unnecessary queueing to access services.

- If the work is heavy and monotonous, this is reflected in occupational wellbeing. The teamwork model introduces flexibility and new opportunities. Improved occupational wellbeing is also positively reflected in the services provided to customers, Erhola explains.

Strong partnership

The Päijät-Häme joint venture model seeks to build the best possible partnership between a private and public sector actor. Both parties bring their best expertise to the shared round table.

- The Joint Authority has strong competence to carry out long-term and robust change as well as extensive expertise in systems for providing services to the population, public health, and interaction between the Joint Authority and the owner municipalities. Mehiläinen’s contribution to the joint venture includes digitalisation expertise and the related tools, the agility to implement the acute change, and dynamic innovation, Erhola continues.

Erhola is very pleased with the round-table partnership between the Joint Authority for Health and Wellbeing and Mehiläinen. One of the cornerstones of smooth cooperation has been the focus on joint communication.

- Our cooperation has been excellent. The transition process has been solid, strong and convincing. I look to the future with a confident, determined and at the same time humble mind. I hope that the changes that will take place will soon lead to better services for the people of the region, she concludes.

Learn more about Harjun terveys on their website  (only in Finnish).