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Digital solutions and artificial intelligence improve the quality of health care

Technology can be used, among other things, to improve the accuracy of dispensing medicines and to enhance wound care competence.
NewIconin automaattinen varastojärjestelmä. Kuva: NewIcon.
NewIcon’s automated pharmacy storage system. Image: NewIcon.

Aalto University’s DiRVa project demonstrated that the quality of health care can be improved and costs reduced with the help of digital solutions and artificial intelligence. An automated storage solution involves robots that dispense the medicine packages more accurately than humans, which increases the safety of patients. In terms of providing nurses with wound care training, online wound care courses proved to be a more cost-effective method of education than contact teaching.

”Technology will revolutionise health care. New digital services can be offered to promote the health of the population and to prevent illnesses. In health care, the safety of patients must be emphasized and in digital solutions that can be achieved particularly via the CE marking,” says Saara Hassinen, Managing Director of Healthtech Finland.

A model for evaluating digital health solutions was developed in the project and patient safety is a key consideration in the model.

“Patient safety means, among other things, eliminating or reducing errors, improving and extending the availability of information among professionals, and involving patients in their own care,” says Project Manager Henni Tenhunen from Aalto University.

Efficiency, accuracy and learning results

HUS Pharmacy has used NewIcon’s automated pharmacy storage system since 2015, and the robots are in charge of the shelving, picking and boxing of the medicines. Thanks to the storage system, medicine orders are dispensed efficiently. With the automated storage system, the time used to process a single medicine package has been reduced, and the system has cut the total costs of dispensing medicines.

The automated storage system checks the barcodes on the medicine packages more accurately. The order picking accuracy of a storage robot is over 99.9 per cent, which exceeds the accuracy of human labour. The quality of the storage system is continuously validated and the accuracy has improved the patient safety of the medicine orders.

The project also studied the effect that online wound care courses organised by Duodecim Medical Publications Ltd had on wound care competence and training costs. In comparison to contact teaching, the online courses resulted in slightly better learning results with significantly lower costs. The best results were achieved with a combination of contact teaching and online courses.

“The study was carried out in the Kainuu Social and Health Care Joint Authority, which covers a wide geographic area. The implementation of contact teaching is particularly expensive in areas with long distances. The online courses provide a possibility to improve wound care competence in a cost-efficient manner, independent of time and place,” says Henni Tenhunen.

The DiRVa project report also includes the Klinik Pro solution developed by Klinik Healthcare Solutions Oy. Klinik Pro was introduced at the Myyrmäki health centre in August 2017. The data covered more than 73,000 anonymised service-use records of almost 18,000 patients over a period of five months. Approximately 4% of all the patients used Klinik Pro during the study period. The results indicate that, during the first months of its use, the digital solution reduced the average service cost per patient by 14%.

Further information:

Paul Lillrank
Professor
Aalto University
[email protected]
tel. +358 500 703 848

Henni Tenhunen
Project manager
Aalto University
[email protected] 
tel. +358 50 463 2977

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