What is this?
The general medical helpline 116117 is an advisory and guidance service for social welfare and health care emergency services, which was launched in September 2017 as the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health’s development project.
The service is intended for urgent, non-emergency situations, especially during on-call hours. In the event of an emergency always call 112.
The medical helpline can provide advice on sudden social and health problems. A health care professional will assess the need for treatment and direct the caller to the appropriate service for his or her situation or provide instructions on self-care. The General medical helpline also answers questions concerning children. A phone call to the General medical helpline 116117 is free of charge for the caller.
Who are involved in the cooperation?
Currently, the General medical helpline 116117 operates in 18 regions and 77.7% of Finnish residents live in its area of application. Nearly all hospital districts intend to introduce the service in 2021 at latest.
The development of the General medical helpline 116117 has been carried out from its very beginning in network-like cooperation between central government and regional actors. DigiFinland’s objective is to develop the service in a nationally uniform direction – in close cooperation with national and regional actors.
A development group has been compiled of representatives from regions and the Emergency Response Centre. The group is tasked with measuring the impact, quality and communications of the service and with supporting regional cooperation. Close cooperation is carried out by various national actors, including the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, the Digital and Population Date Services Agency, as well as the Emergency Response Centre.
What we do
General medical helpline 116117 procurement ring for calls connecting service
Contracts have been entered into with four operators for the regional coordination of calls to the General medical helpline 116117 according to the caller’s location. A total of 18 hospital districts have joined the DigiFinland-established procurement ring for connecting of calls to the General medical helpline 116117. The hospital districts conclude a service contract in accordance with the framework agreement with the selected interconnection operator, if they wish to introduce the tendered connecting services. Tendering allowed for a significant discount on the cost of calls paid by hospital districts.
General medical helpline 116117 a tool for professionals
DigiFinland develops a professional users’ tool for the use of the General medical helpline. The profession users’ tool will compile all the information used by a professional using the General medical helpline in one place. In addition to the urgent treatment criteria the handling of calls is supported by municipality-specific information on care facilities and regional practices connected to symptoms cards for patient guidance. The aim is to develop the service in a more nationally cohesive direction by means of national guidelines and online training. The service has been designed taking into consideration its usability to ensure that the service operates in fast-paced telephone work.
General medical helpline 116117 digital channel
The aim of the medical helpline’s digital channel for residents is to offer residents an alternative channel for using the General medical helpline. The digital channel offers organisations a more efficient way to manage contacts and it will direct some residents directly to self-care instructions. The aim is to increase the equality of residents by improving the availability and uniformity of services regardless of place of residence.
Support for commissioning
We will support hospital districts and health and social services joint municipal authorities in the deployment, development, maintenance and operational change of the General medical helpline 116117 ensuring that the services will facilitate the attainment of the advantages set as its objective:
- models will be produced for deployment and the operational process, which will be designed taking into account the structural and demographic differences in the regions
- common guidelines will be drawn up for the activities, taking into account the requirements and limitations laid down in legislation
- regular webinars will be organised to provide guidance in deployment-related matters and the measurement of impact and quality as well as communication will be discussed
Expert panel on emergency care criteria
The medical content of the national criteria for emergency care will also be maintained and developed as part of the General medical helpline 116117 project. At the request of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, DigiFinland will in future be the distributor and developer of emergency care criteria. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health will continue to be responsible for the strategic steering of the instructions and DigiFinland will report to the ministry on the use of the instructions.
Where are we currently?
The use of the General medical helpline will expand at the beginning of 2021 to three new regions as Pirkanmaa, Central Ostrobothnia and Norther Ostrobothnia introduce the service. Development of the resident’s digital channel and professional users’ tool will transition from planning to implementation in 2021.
Want to hear more?
Programme Manager, General medical helpline 116117
+ 358 50 365 5499