We tried out remote appointments in the joint emergency department at Jorvi and Peijas in late 2021. Remote appointments allow patients to get help from the emergency clinic while still at home, instead of having to travel to the joint emergency department.

Remote video appointments with a physician at a joint emergency department were made possible to residents over the age of 16 in Vantaa and Kerava as of October 1, and similarly in Espoo, Kauniainen and Kirkkonummi as of October 15. We held remote appointments on weekends when the emergency clinic was busy. This pilot lasted until December 19, 2021. 

“The patients attending remote appointments have seemed quite satisfied on the whole. We deal with a wide range of health issues in remote appointments,” says Chief Physician Arja Kobylin.

Video remote appointment via Maisa

We referred patients to remote appointments through the Medical Helpline 116117. The nurse on call on the Helpline made assessments of callers’ needs for care and booked a remote appointment with a physician when necessary. 

The callers referred to remote appointments were patients who required emergency assistance and whose issue could be dealt with remotely. 

The appointments themselves were managed through the video appointment facility in the Maisa system; this could be used on a computer or mobile app. In referring patients to remote appointments, it is of course important to ensure that the patients are able to access the remote appointment.

Particular attention to patient safety

“When we were planning the remote appointments for emergency clinics, we paid particular attention to not referring those patients to remote appointments who were too sick. All patients with serious cases were advised to go to a joint emergency department in person,” says Service Manager Hanna Vainio from the Medical Helpline.

During the pilot, 396 patients were seen in a remote appointment, and 263 e-prescriptions were issued. 

“The cases we handled in remote appointments involved acute issues in general medicine or issuing prescriptions for medication. Most of the patients did get help for their acute health problems. It was only rarely that we had to advise the patient to go to a joint emergency department or health center in person,” says Kobylin.