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 [1] – 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.

Human and monetary costs resulting from alcohol are worrying in our region. There was an obvious need to identify harmful alcohol consumption as early as possible. The Medanets app was chosen as the tool for special healthcare.

Susanna Leimio, project manager, regional coordinator for preventive work in Päijät-Häme

Screening questionnaire in a mobile environment

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 [2]. The proven [3] 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 [4].

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.

Functionalities to meet the wards’ needs

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.

Ulla Linnajärvi, senior nursing officer, Welfare District of Päijät-Häme, Central Hospital

The Welfare District of Päijät-Häme collaborated with the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare in the development project. Therefore, it was important to display the official classification codes of the AUDIT-C screen and mini-intervention in the Electronic Health Record. The functionalities were developed in such a way that the codes are automatically saved in the Electronic Health Record, so that users do not have to worry about remembering them.

Developing nursing practices

According to Susanna Leimio, who is 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.”

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.

The Medanets app is part of a bigger puzzle. We believe it is important that the app functions on mobile phones as expected, that it guides nurses to perform their tasks without errors and saves data for later use. Tools must be as clear as possible for the users. In this respect, Medanets is excellent.

Susanna Leimio, project manager, regional coordinator for preventive work in Päijät-Häme

In addition, the collaboration with Medanets employees receives praise from Leimio. “Everything went really smoothly. We found a common language easily. I got the feeling that the people at Medanets immediately understood what we needed.  We also got good and clear instructions on how to use the new functionalities. I’d be happy to collaborate with the Medanets experts again in the future.”

SOURCES:

[1] https://sotkanet.fi/sotkanet/fi/metadata/indicators/4415

[2] https://sotkanet.fi/sotkanet/fi/metadata/indicators/4415

[3] https://www.duodecimlehti.fi/lehti/2009/8/duo98003

[4] https://paihdelinkki.fi/fi/testit-ja-laskurit/alkoholi/tulostettavat-versiot-pdf