Chronic fatigue and snoring are among the problems for which patients get referred from primary care to Aleris Sömnapné, a specialist practice that investigates and treats adult patients living with OSAS (obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome). Part of the Aleris healthcare group in Sweden, Aleris Sömnapné have fully embraced digital working. One of the service’s reasons for making the digital transition is to enable it to respond to the high pressure it currently faces; today it has 30,000 patients undergoing treatment.
When Aleris decided to introduce Visiba Care throughout the entire Group in the spring of 2021, Sömnapné was one of the services that expressed interest early on. The transition to Visiba Care went relatively smoothly as the employees at Aleris Sömnapné were already accustomed to digital workflows. The service registered more than 3,000 cases on the platform in the first three months alone.
Priority on digital processes – for patients’ sake
The work is led by section manager Nathalie Klintenstedt, whose background is as a nurse. She describes Sömnapné as a virtual clinic where priority is placed on digital processes throughout the entire organisation. Besides seeing digitisation as a natural future progression, Nathalie emphasises that patients’ needs are a central driving factor in the transition process.
We need to be able to help patients wherever they are. A patient shouldn’t have to take a whole day off work to visit us. Instead, we should be there when needed.
According to Nathalie, the greatest benefits of switching to the Visiba Care healthcare platform is that it has made it easier for patients to find what they need and that accessibility has improved.
In the past we got criticised a lot because it was difficult to get hold of us, and many people complained that they couldn’t find our service. Now it’s easy and practical via the app.
Processing messages is a popular work task
Aleris Sömnapné initially focused on getting the work up and running by using a messaging function in the platform, to get new cases set up in a simple, clear format. The employees who deal with messages in Visiba Care are generally very satisfied with the tool, and according to Nathalie, many of the staff enjoy it so much that they’re keen to take on extra shifts in the evening.
Administration professionals on the front line
Nathalie’s prior experience in emergency care also influenced decisions on how incoming flows would be handled. Instead of having a nurse as the first line of contact, the task of triaging incoming flows and booking patients in with the right resource was given to service-minded staff who enjoy and are capable of handling multiple cases simultaneously.
Response time reduced from 3 weeks to 2 minutes
In the past, patients have had to wait up to three weeks to get a response. Since the service can handle multiple incoming cases simultaneously through the messaging function in Visiba Care, the response time is now between two minutes and four hours, depending on when the case was submitted. There is no doubt that the new digital channel has brought benefits in the form of time savings and greater efficiency.
I made a conscious choice to take things a step at a time, to allow the staff to keep up and get used to the changes before going on to the next step.
Visiba Care's approach means that services can digitise at their own pace, turning elements on as they feel ready. The next step for Aleris Sömnapné is to introduce video meetings. The aim is to replace telephone meetings as well as some physical visits to nurses or doctors with video meetings. Nathalie sees the video consultations as a good complement to messages for assessing patients’ physical condition. For example, a doctor needs to be able to see the shape of the patient’s face and the appearance of their neck and throat.
Finally, we asked Nathalie what her best advice would be for others who are hesitant about getting started with or developing digital healthcare meetings. Her answer is simple and direct:
Dare. Try it. You’ve got nothing to lose by giving it a try. This is the future.
If you'd like to know more about how Aleris works with Visiba Care at an operational level then please get in touch. We're always happy to workshop, without commitment, ways that our solution could help healthcare providers and their patients.