Aug 13, 2013

Mobile Healthcare: Mallu Case Study by Eksote in Finland

The Mallu vehicle is a new type of mobile healthcare service that is used in remote regions where these services don’t exist. The objective is to introduce more advanced services to locations that don’t have a dedicated healthcare center.

The targets for the Mallu system are:
  • To answer the healthcare needs of people living far away from stationary service locations 
  • To secure and develop the basic services of people in remote locations 
  • To enhance wellbeing and health as well as to prevent illness 
  • To support the health and wellbeing of the elderly and to support independent living 
  • To produce new and reliable mobile services 
The customers include all community members, but the largest customer group is elderly people that have problems of travelling to the locations of stationary services. The first pilot tests in 2011 showed that as many as 65% of the customers were aged 65 or older.

The services

The Mallu vehicle provides primary nurse and pharmacy services. Special health related theme days are also organized using the vehicle. 

The vehicle has a fixed route and the target is to visit each dedicated site every fortnight. The time the vehicle is in one location varies from one hour upwards, depending on the need. The nurses provide services like ear rinsing, stitch removal, prescription renewals, vaccinations and other injections. Blood pressure monitoring, blood sugar level sampling and related advice are also included, while some quick sampling like INR is also performed in the van.

The broadband connection in the vehicle enables the usage of Eksote's regional health district patient register, so that all patient specific health issues can be monitored and reported online. Some dental services can be included depending on the equipment installed in the vehicle. 

The route of the vehicle in Southern Carelia, Finland 

The connectivity solution

One of the main requirements for the services is an always online data connection that is guaranteed to function in more remote locations. The Goodmill managed router system meets the challenge. The Mallu vehicle is equipped with a router that includes up to four different commercial mobile broadband connections. In current operations along the predefined routes, Eksote uses two SIM-cards from the two main operators in Finland.

The system overview of the Mallu healthcare vehicle 

The solution brings all the health district’s databases to the vehicle over secured VPN tunneling. The van then operates like any other connection inside the hospital or healthcare center with similar rights and capabilities. This also enables more modern services like live video streaming from the van, enabling doctors consultation on demand.

The costs

The total cost for the vehicle including salaries, vehicle rental and IT infrastructure are €115,000 per year. With a single customer’s cost between €52 - €104 per visit, the all costs of the service can be covered. This is obviously a very interesting value proposition for Eksote.

The summary

As the costs of health care are rising in general, a mobile service unit is a way to deliver services to more remote locations. A modern IT infrastructure is needed to support the service, which requires secure access to databases for medical records, electronic prescription databases and so on. The Goodmill managed router solution is a perfect building block and enabler for this. With always online broadband, imagination is only the limit to expand and upgrade the services in the future.

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