Medanets’ app helps prevent substance abuse
The in-patient wards of special healthcare in Päijät-Häme use the Medanets app in identifying the early stages of alcohol consumption exceeding risk levels. Preventive measures help minimise problems caused by excessive use of alcohol.
Alcohol abuse is one of Finns’ most significant health threats and one of the most common causes of death among working-age people. Costs related to harm caused by alcohol amount to as much as EUR 1.5 billion annually– not to mention human costs. The role of preventive substance abuse work is crucial in reducing harm. The Welfare District of Päijät-Häme has done long-term work to develop an early intervention model.
One of the tools used in preventive substance abuse work is the AUDIT-C screen, which is a questionnaire used to identify people who are starting to have problems with alcohol consumption. The proven AUDIT-C screen is used to assess a person’s use of alcohol, how often they drink, and how much they drink. Based on the results of the screen, a risk score for alcohol consumption is calculated for the patient.
Medanets has brought the screening questionnaire from paper into a mobile environment. With the help of its risk assessment feature, the app automatically calculates a risk score for the patient based on the nurse’s selections. The app guides the user from one question of the AUDIT-C to the next. It also provides instructions about further measures based on the final score.
The Welfare District of Päijät-Häme started to use the AUDIT-C functionality of the app in wards providing special medical care as part of a wider development project for preventive substance abuse work. In connection with the project and based on the customer’s wishes, Medanets also developed a mini-intervention functionality to complement the AUDIT-C screen.
The mini-intervention takes 10–15 minutes and is performed as needed for patients with high-risk scores. The AUDIT-C screen and mini-intervention take place next to the patient at the point of care, and the information is recorded in real-time using the app. Details of the answers to the screen, the risk scores and the mini-intervention are transferred directly to the Electronic Health Record.
‘Feedback received from our healthcare professionals has been positive. In the rapidly changing environment, they see Medanets as the only opportunity to record the results from the AUDIT-C and mini-intervention. In other words, the app makes it possible to record data that might otherwise not be recorded. All in all, our employees really like the Medanets app and they use it actively. They say that it is convenient, quick and clear,’ commented Ulla Linnajärvi, senior nursing officer, Welfare District of Päijät-Häme, Central Hospital.
According to Susanna Leimio, who is a project manager of the Welfare District of Päijät-Häme and regional coordinator for preventive work, Medanets made it possible to streamline and harmonise documentation practices within preventive substance abuse work.
‘The use of the app has made our operations more structured and systematic: work and documentation go hand in hand. We were already using the Medanets app in our wards, and to meet the needs of preventive substance abuse work, we only added two easy-to-use functionalities to it,’ explained Leimio.
Leimio encourages other people working in the development of nursing work to try new things and work with new partners with an open mind. She hopes that people will remember what is most important in the development work: the people who use healthcare services. Tools used by healthcare professionals should help them carry out their tasks – and the work carried out should benefit the clients.