Introducing Suomi.fi Messages eliminated routine tasks in appointments and brought major time savings to the North Karelia wellbeing services county
When the Siun Sote joint municipal authority was formed, the customer communications of social welfare and health care services in North Karelia were concentrated entirely on one system and one organisation. This is when Siun Sote saw the opportunity to pilot the Messages service. The idea was to reduce the time spent on customer communications.
The establishment of the new joint municipal authority created a need to harmonise the processes of social welfare and health care services in the North Karelia region in 2017. At the same time, the act on joint e-service support services entered into force.
– With the birth of Siun sote, sending customer messages was centralised to one organisation. Piloting the Suomi.fi Messages service seemed attractive, and the legislation speeded up the experiment, says Tiina Vatanen, Head of Information management at Siun Sote.
Suomi.fi Messages is a service offered by the Digital and Population Data Services Agency that public administration organisations can use to send messages to their customers in electronic format instead of paper letters. The messages may include decisions, appointment letters, care instructions, invoices or other documents. Message recipients receive the electronic mail sent to one service by all organisations using Suomi.fi Messages.
– We started piloting the Messages service for the patient information system in 2018 and introduced it in autumn 2019. At the end of 2019, the pandemic served as a real test when approximately 15,000 appointment letters were sent to customers per month, Vatanen recalls.
The aim was to make the work of our employees easier from the start and reduce postage time, but also to ensure that customers receive information concerning them quickly and reliably. According to Vatanen, the Digital and Population Data Services Agency has been actively involved in system integration projects. Since then, introductions in new units and extensions to new content have been done independently.
Automation significantly improves time on postage
In the health and social services of North Karelia, the Messages service has been used by far the most to send appointment letters. Simple instructions and treatment plans have also been communicated to customers through the service. In social welfare, the Messages service has proved particularly useful in the distribution of payment decisions as well.
– In sending letters, we have saved roughly one minute per printed and posted paper. When you send tens of thousands of letters every year, you save quite a bit like this, says Ilari Hurmekoski, Specialist in Digital Services at Siun Sote, making the time savings brought to the organisation by the Messages service more concrete.
In addition, for our employees, the reduction in routine work tasks has also had an impact on well-being at work. Today, you can also work from home, and you no longer need to stand at the printer to send appointment letters.
In North Karelia wellbeing services county, the majority of customers still receive all messages on paper. Hurmekoski says the customer has the right to choose which service channel they wish to use.
– The customer can choose whether they want the letters primarily on paper or digitally. If the client wishes to receive the letter electronically, they must start using Suomi.fi Messages. Siun Sote also uses the printing, enveloping and distribution service of Suomi.fi Messages to send paper letters. In this way, the message can always be sent electronically, and the system distributes them either electronically or on paper, depending on which channel the recipient is using. Of course, we hope that more and more people will choose the digital service as their primary communication channel in the future.
New system solutions need to be considered in wellbeing services counties
In many areas, social welfare and health care services are now organised into uniform entities. This provides a fertile ground for the deployment of new solutions and innovations such as the piloting of the Messages service.
In fact, experts at Siun Sote recommend the introduction of the service to wellbeing services counties that are thinking how to harmonise their social welfare and health care processes:
– For larger organisations with a lot of letter traffic, the service is an excellent solution, Vatanen says.
– And it is cheaper and easier to use an existing structure than to start re-inventing the wheel, Hurmekoski says.
Will your organisation also start using Suomi.fi Messages?
Read more about Suomi.fi Messages and the implementation of the service:
A project aimed at wellbeing services counties to support system changes: https://dvv.fi/hyvinvointialueet (in Finnish)