The turn of the year is a good time to stop for a moment and look back. How was the year for the Contact Point for Cross-Border Healthcare, and what is in the plans for this year?
The Contact Point met with people at events
The Contact Point kicked off the year 2018 with the traditional attendance at the Matka Nordic Travel Fair in Messukeskus, Expo and Convention Centre Helsinki. During the fair, we made contact with thousands of students, pensioners and working-age people. The fair-goers ordered European Health Insurance Cards at the fair stand and wondered whether Kela would reimburse treatment given abroad. The fair was a great success and also led to a wonderful nomination for fair team of the year at the Mesoaja Gala in Messukeskus The winners will be revealed in March 2019.
The Contact Point was also visible at other events over the course of the year. In February, we visited the ‘Asiakkaat ja sote’ (‘Clients and social and health care’) seminar by the National Institute for Health and Welfare and, in April, participated in the Patients’ Rights Day at HUS Helsinki University Helsinki. The Contact Point also had a fair stand at the TERVE-SOS event for health care professionals in Hämeenlinna in May. In September, we gave advice to customers planning to move abroad at Kela’s international summer event at the Iso Omena Service Centre, and in October we took part in the Soste cruise for welfare organisations.
The Contact Point has a social media presence
In February, we got some relief from having to say our full name in Finnish, when the light-hearted nickname contest resulted in a shorter nickname in Finnish for the Contact Point for Cross-Border Healthcare: Rajis.
The contact points of EU countries met in Brussels in March. The European Commission presented a study that analysed the customer service and websites of the contact points. Finland’s Contact Point did extremely well in the study. The Contact Point was praised for its social media presence, in particular, because the contact points of many other EU countries were still considering opening social media accounts. Finland’s Contact Point continued to be a pioneer by opening a Facebook account to join its Twitter account. Our planner Pia also blogged (in Finnish) about why Finns leave Finland for treatment abroad, the statistics of cross-border health care and why people need the European Health Insurance Card.
In May, the Contact Point gained online visibility through an ad campaign. In the campaign, cartoon characters get the flu or have minor accidents on holiday as well as consider having a cataract operation, a gynaecological examination or knee surgery abroad.
Customers helped improve the Choosehealthcare.fi website
The Choosehealthcare.fi website was improved in cooperation with the customers. The main page was revamped in May. Over the course of the year, other texts on the website were made clearer and more concise. New contents were also launched on the website, including checklists for exchange students, people going on holiday in Europe and people seeking treatment abroad. In addition to checklists, example stories were added to the pages.
Focus on customers in 2019
This year, the Contact Point’s main focus is on the customers. We also respond to customers’ enquiries by e-mail at the address yhteyspiste(at)kela.fi. The plan to revamp the main page of the Choosehealthcare.fi website is fairly far along, and there will also be more summary pages and stories for specific target groups. We communicate actively through our social media channels, and people can meet us face-to-face at various events. On January 17–20, the Contact Point will be at the Matka Nordic Travel Fair again. If you want to help improve our activities, please join the Contact Point customer panel (in Finnish).