This example describes a project where ICT solutions and new health technology were developed to support older people living at home, facilitate integration of home and hospital care services, and to promote integration of public and private sector services. The project was undertaken in 2004-2007 in one municipality in the South Eastern part of Finland. The South Karelia District of Social and Health Services (Eksote) serves the municipality, and has been responsible for arranging specialised hospital care, primary health care and social services (including home care) since 2010 for its 8 municipality members with approximately 105,000 inhabitants.
Supporting older people with chronic disease who live at home requires close cooperation between doctors and nurses as well as between hospitals (special care, public) and home care. In addition, current information concerning the patient's health and functional ability is needed. The cooperation and transfer of information can be made more effective by using ICT solutions and health technology such as web cameras, broadband connections or video phones.
A new service model for nursing care at home has been developed based on a partnership between a local public authority (municipality), private health and nursing entrepreneurs, and technology and communication companies.
The new model can increase patient's quality of life and patient received services in a more flexible way. By using these technological solutions, savings in service costs and professional time were achieved through decreasing unnecessary visits to outpatient departments, and through better cooperation between hospitals and home care.
What is the main benefit for people in need of care and/or carers?
The new ICT solutions and operating models help to support frail older people to be able to continue living at home despite acute illnesses or a decline in functional ability, as well as enabling them to maintain a good quality of life.
What is the main message for practice and/or policy in relation to this sub-theme?
The ICT solutions and new operating models increase the productivity of professionals’ work as the transfer of information is faster. They are able to decrease unnecessary hospital stays and visits to outpatient departments.