The overal objective of the project is to promote the use of electronic communication between healthcare providers and patients. From the provider's point of view it is essential to improve the integration of patient contacting with healthcare information systems and care processes. Concerning the patient, it is extermely important that electronic health services are easy to use and secure.
The project divides into four tasks:
- Integrate the internet-based service environment for exchanging information between healthcare service providers and customers.
- Define the healthcare processes relevant to the pilots to be carried out in the project.
- Carry out service pilots in two use cases: ambulatory surgery (Jorvi Hospital) and infertility clinic (North Carelia Central Hospital)
- Carry out a survey on electronic healthcare services in USA
The overall architecture for patient contacting is shown below.
The messaging system provides secure connectivity between the healthcare operating unit and the patient. In addition to free messages, structured content can be sent. A form filled in by the patient is a typical example of structured information. The messaging system to be used in the Jorvi hospital will also include the possibility to send information to the patient via conventional letter mail. This is important, since many patients do not have the required capabilities for internet-based access.
The results from earlier pilots indicate that the personnel expect electronic patient contacting to be integrated in health care processes. Furthermore, it is important that electronic patient contacting increases efficiency and does not increase work load. From the personnel perspective the service prosess should be similar for all customers (both electronic and conventional). This will be achieved by the multichannel solution from Itella. This solution is used in the Jorvi pilot for acquiring information from patients before they visit the hospital for ambulatory surgery. The multi-channel solution allows the personnel to send messages to the patient without having to know about the communication mechanism taking place. Messages to the customer are send through both electronic web-mail and letter mail. Electronic customers fill in a web-form while others send the paper form back via letter mail or bring it personally.
In North Carelia Central Hospital pilot the situation is different. The electronic communication is not replacing paper letters. Instead it improves tha doctor patient communication and may reduce the need for physical visits. In this use case the PIR document service provided by VTT is used.
In both pilots the users have serveral authentication mechanisms available. In addition to conventional passwords the patients can be authenticated by using bank passwords (TUPAS-method) or the mobile certificate.