June 1, 2020

Finnish healthcare district goes mobile in problem drinking prevention

A healthcare professional holding a smartphone.
The app automatically calculates a risk score for the user and sends it to the electronic health record.
Medanets

The Päijät-Häme Joint Authority for Health and Wellbeing in Finland has put to use a mobile adaptation of AUDIT-C, a screening questionnaire for identifying early signs of hazardous alcohol use.

Developed by Oulu, Finland-based Medanets, the app has been used in the inpatient wards of special healthcare units as part of a larger project to develop substance abuse prevention. It guides the user through the questionnaire, calculates a risk score for the patient based on the answers and parameters inputted by healthcare professionals, and provides instructions for further measures based on the score.

“The use of the app has made our operations more structured and systematic: work and documentation go hand in hand,” said Susanna Leimio, regional coordinator for preventive work at the Päijät-Häme Joint Authority for Health and Wellbeing.

Medanets has supplemented the proven questionnaire at the request of the joint authority with a 10–15 minute intervention for patients with high scores. Both the questionnaire and intervention take place in the presence of the patient at the point of care, with the information transferred to the electronic health record in real time.

Leimio said collaboration with the software firm has worked well.

“Everything went really smoothly. We found a common language easily. I got the feeling that the people at Medanets immediately understood what we needed. We also got good and clear instructions on how to use the new functionalities,” she said.

Alcohol abuse is one of the major health threats and one of the most common causes of death among working-age people in Finland. Alcohol-related harm is estimated to cost the country nearly 1.5 billion euros a year, making work to prevent alcohol abuse important also from a financial perspective.

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