Digital leadership in occupational health services: the benefits and customer experience of the Symptom assessment tool

The new Occupational Health steering model was introduced at the end of 2023 for all our occupational health clients. An integral part of the guidance model is the Symptom Assessment tool, which is used across digital channels to guide our occupational health clients to the right specialist, in the right channel and at the right time when they are ill. It also helps our professionals to prepare for the upcoming appointment, thus streamlining the client encounter.

Our occupational health physician Johannes Kallio has been involved in the development of the customer guidance model and the CE-marked medical device that is an integral part of it, the Symptom Assessment. Being able to prepare for each client in advance has made the reception work smoother and left more time for individual client care.

Medicine is a lot of exclusion and the Symptom Assessment now does this for me. For us professionals, the reception is much more pleasant, because now I know in advance why the client is coming to my practice. The advance information allows me to check the latest treatment recommendations for symptoms and update myself before the client sits down in front of me - virtually or physically," says Kallio. 

The symptom assessment analyses the answers given by the client and provides them with a recommendation for action.

Our most recent analysis, Näin Suomi voi, shows that 42% of short absences of 1-3 days are already granted by front-line staff. The introduction of the Symptom assessment tool has also contributed to speeding up this practice of self-reporting by reminding people of the possibility of agreeing to an absence with a frontline worker," says Mr Kallio.

Steering model is being developed on the basis of feedback from our clients

Joonas Kaijala, Development Manager for Customer Care at Terveystalo, knows what our customers have thought of the Symptom Assessment. Our customers' experiences with Oirearvio are monitored through user surveys, of which more than 250 000 have already been completed. There has been very little open feedback, but that in itself is positive feedback.

From the start, the ease of use of the Symptom Assessment has been praised and it has been rated 4/5. We have responded quickly to constructive feedback and have developed the overall customer guidance in an agile way, which has resulted in a steadily improving trend in feedback," says Kaijala.

Around 80% of our customers have chosen a channel and expert recommended by Oirevoice.

The recommendations provided by Symptom Assessment are based on the Current Care recommendations and are part of the medical device, but compliance has still been slightly stronger for the local practice than for the remote practice. For example, clients have been particularly complimentary about the fact that they would not have realised they would have been in direct contact with a physiotherapist without the assessment," says Kaijala.

The Symptom Assessment also gives us unique data about your health and how smoothly you can get help from us.

We now have precise information about the effort people put into approaching us, what kind of care we need, through which channels and whether they get it. For example, the prevalence of mental health symptoms has been steady over time at around 10%, with no similar seasonal variation as, for example, flu symptoms. Symptom assessment helps us to lead with knowledge, i.e. to understand and respond to our clients' needs," concludes Kaijala.