Halinen sets himself two priorities in his work: using generic technologies that enable the transition of healthcare from a vendor-centric model to a modern multi-vendor environment, and involving users from the very beginning in any development work so that their demands and wishes are met as accurately as possible.
“In 2020, we wanted to find out who in Finland has the ability to implement a layer suitable for guiding the day-to-day operations of our professionals, complementing the patient information system and refining patient data”, Halinen describes. Almost all actors presented KHSHP with Microsoft technologies – either Dynamics business solutions or Azure cloud services complemented by agile, low-code Power Platform tools.
What we did
- An application for booking staff COVID vaccines and managing the vaccination processes
- A professional ERP solution that runs on any endpoint device to manage daily operations such as cleaning requests and HVAC and equipment failure notifications
These strengths of the Microsoft Power Platform convinced Harri Halinen and his team:
- Vendor-independence – even currently, KHSHP has several actors in the implementation process, and there are plenty of options for partners in the market
- Public cloud – enables using precisely the services that are considered important
- Major, global technology player – Microsoft’s product portfolio is constantly evolving and its solutions have extensive integration capabilities
- Cost control – cloud models offer significant benefits risk-free, without major upfront investments
What we used
Fail quickly and pay only for what you use
Instead of ready-made Dynamics business solutions, KHSHP decided to choose Azure and low-code solutions. The attraction factor in these technologies was the pay as you go model, i.e., the possibility to start off without significant initial investments, as well as agile solution implementation methods and the so-called fail fast thinking. “In practice, we would be able to screw things up and, without significant losses, to decide to go another way”, Halinen sums up.
We could screw it up without significant losses.
Out of the numerous Microsoft technology partner options available, Digia was selected as one of KHSHP’s vendors thanks to its references, among other things. “Few suppliers have agile methods in place to implement large solutions for healthcare”, Halinen says. “In addition, we were convinced about Digia’s resources and know-how, and the result is that we have always flexibly got the kind of professionals at our disposal that have been needed.” Halinen mentions Digia’s user-centricity as the final selection criterion. For KHSHP, it is very important that it is hardcoded in the vendor’s genes to engage users from the very beginning in the development work.
Vaccine application for professionals, from idea to use in a month
At the time of the launch of KHSHP’s professional ERP project, the world was suffering the coronavirus pandemic, and the first vaccines for healthcare workers became available. The hospital district first used a complex Excel table for vaccine bookings for professionals and for the management of vaccination work, but soon the usability of the low-code platform designed to guide operations was also identified for the management of vaccinations. “With Digia, we could implement in a month an application that facilitates booking the vaccinations and the vaccination process”, Halinen says. The same application was used to book all COVID vaccines for professionals in the hospital district, and the application is still in use – now also for booking and managing influenza vaccinations. As Halinen puts it, even though the implementation of the application was not high on “bling bling” or produced an extremely fine service design, the solution has everything essential and it works. “Our staff was amazed that within a month of telling us about their need for such an app, it was already up and running”, Halinen says with a laugh.
Alongside the vaccine application, the development of the professional desktop continued, and it is emerging step by step. At the moment, the application can be used to control, among other things, requests for cleaning and HVAC and equipment failure notifications. Ordering and managing patient transports is currently in the works. Later, the application that runs both on mobile devices and workstations will also provide all human resources services, for example.
Fundamental changes to everyday life and the whole digitalisation approach
Halinen says that the adoption of agile low-code tools has brought three significant changes to KHSHP’s operations. “First of all, we have taken a step from a workstation-oriented world to mobile solutions.”
“Secondly, we have received digital ERP tools for areas where we previously worked completely manually. For example, hospital care has a large number of employees with a really high workload, but there has been no visibility into these loads in the past. Now we can see how much time is spent on what tasks, which units are under-staffed and where we can boost efficiency”, Halinen says. “With a solution running in the mobile phone, a hospital janitor can click the space they are in and receive space-specific cleaning instructions directly on the screen.” With a role-based user interface, each user can see in the app only the things that are part of their job description. In other words, the application has made the work more efficient and easier at the hospital’s floor level and has also moved the supervision and management of work to the modern day.
Toni Suihko, Business Director of KHSHP’s ICT service provider 2M-IT, which is driving the development of the resource planning solution, also thanks the possibilities involved with low-code development. “The social and health care sector has had megaprojects lasting years, during which the original need has already changed or been completely eliminated. Using low-code platforms enables faster, more agile and more innovative development”, Suihko says.
We are no longer buyers of applications, but their developers, instead.
With the low-code method, the third – and perhaps most fundamental – change has taken place in KHSHP’s digital transformation. “We are no longer buyers of applications, but their developers, instead”, Harri Halinen says. KHSHP has shifted from blaming applications sourced by the IT department to genuine user involvement and collaboration. “With us, users are part of the process. They themselves explain how they work and are themselves developing tools to improve their working day. Now the focus is on doing only the right things.”