Northern Finland plans self-service health care kiosks for remote villages

Finland’s northern municipality, Sodankylä, plans to introduce self-service health care stalls for persons living in remote locations. The pop-up medical kiosks will allow users to run lab tests, check blood pressure, as well as heart and lung activity – and to call on a doctor or nurse via a video link.
The pilot project will exploit the possibilities of remote medicine and modern health technology. (Yle)
The pilot project will exploit the possibilities of remote medicine and modern health technology. (Yle)

The Aslak medical centre run by Lapland’s rescue helicopter operation has plans to trial a new kind of self-service health care kiosk in sparsely-populated areas of northern and eastern Lapland.

The pilot will see the installation of service outlets for use by residents in isolated villages. It will exploit the possibilities of remote medicine and modern health technology to bring health services to people who would otherwise have to travel long distances for health care.

The kiosks will be equipped with a video link to an Aslak nurse, or if needed, an on-duty physician. The aim is also to provide services such as laboratory tests, blood pressure monitoring, electrocardiograms and lung checks.

The kiosks will be self-service, however they may require some kind of personnel to keep them open for users, to provide assistance using the equipment and to set up remote video connections.

Funding required after preliminary studies

The operators of the proposed health care booths have sent out a questionnaire about the project to local village associations and clubs to determine their level of interest in the enterprise, said project manager Helena Lemminkäinen.

Once that stage has been completed, Aslak will sit down with residents of the far north to jointly plan the services to be offered and the functions of the kiosks.

The preliminary study is being funded by Pohjoisimman Lapin Leader, a regional organisation that provides funding for projects that stimulate activity and develop amenities in the Finnish Lapland. The project itself is part of a rural development programme. Aslak hopes to raise private financing for constructing the kiosks.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada:  Telehealth in the Arctic – Unfulfilled potential, Blog by Heather Exner-Pirot

Finland: Study finds lower cancer rates among indigenous Sámi, YLE News

Norway: Nordic diet a heart-smart alternative, Radio Sweden

Russia:  Reindeer herders evacuated from anthrax zone in Russian Arctic, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden:  The Sami Health Paradox, Radio Sweden

United States:  Alaska Villages without running water or health aides: Federal officials hear about challenges, Alaska Dispatch News

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