In a significant expansion of healthcare services, the Uusimaa Medical Helpline will begin offering remote appointments for children starting April 19, 2024. This service allows parents in Uusimaa, excluding Helsinki, to access medical consultations via video for their children, enhancing the convenience and accessibility of pediatric care.

The decision to include children in remote healthcare services follows the successful implementation of similar services for adults since October 2021.

"Our experience with adult patients has been overwhelmingly positive, with 96% reporting that they received the help they needed, and 97% appreciating the convenience and ease of the consultation," said Specialist Arja Kobylin, who oversees the development of remote services.

Remote appointments for children can be accessed by calling the toll-free Medical Helpline number 116117. A nurse initially evaluates the child's condition over the phone to determine if a remote appointment is appropriate based on the symptoms and urgency. If so, the appointment is conducted through the Maisa portal, where a healthcare professional can interact with the child and parent via video.

The service is especially designed for cases where a physical examination is not necessary, and the health issue does not warrant an immediate visit to an emergency department. However, for emergencies or when the local health center is closed, and the condition cannot wait, the helpline provides guidance on proceeding directly to emergency services.

Remote consultations are available during specific hours: Fridays from 4 to 10 p.m., weekends from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and on midweek holidays. This schedule accommodates families during times when other healthcare options might be limited.

For children over the age of 12, logging into the Maisa portal requires the patient's own online banking credentials. For those under 12, guardians can use their Maisa accounts to facilitate the appointment, with legal authorization confirmed through the service.

The extension of remote healthcare services to children in Uusimaa represents a significant enhancement in the region's healthcare accessibility, particularly for urgent but non-life-threatening conditions. This initiative not only helps in decongesting emergency rooms but also ensures that children receive timely medical attention in a convenient and familiar setting.