Mehiläinen’s Tesoma Wellness Alliance
The Tesoma Alliance is a new way of providing a wide range of services for people living in the Tesoma region of the city of Tampere, Finland. The services are produced as a cooperation between the public sector (the municipality of Tampere), the private sector (healthcare provider Mehiläinen) and the third sector (non-profit organizations). The Tesoma Alliance brings together the region’s residents – regardless of their different socioeconomic backgrounds – through the Tesoma Wellness Center to improve health, wellness, and social services.
How it works
An alliance is a form of collaborative contract that details a delivery framework for multiple stakeholders. The main principles of the alliance are the sharing of risks and benefits, ensuring common goals, a common revenue model and organization, innovation and continuous improvement, and the building of trust between all stakeholders. Procurement has been implemented with an innovative approach that combines results-based funding and development partnership models.
The City of Tampere and Mehiläinen are jointly responsible for the Tesoma Alliance; the third sector has a significant role in service production. The operation of the partnership network enables open and active cooperation with parties from outside the alliance. Key performance areas for the alliance include:
- the wellbeing of children, young people, and families
- the wellbeing and work capacity of the adult population
- the wellbeing and capability of older people
- reduced need for use of expensive specialized services
- customer and stakeholder satisfaction with the center’s work
The Tesoma Wellness Center is the main product of the Tesoma Alliance model. The service concept has been created in cooperation with service users, the city, companies, and associations. The center consists of two complementary parts: social and health services, and services that strengthen the community and engage residents.
The center is an integrated facility that includes a public health center, a dental clinic, a health and wellness clinic for expecting parents and families with small children, care services for the elderly, and leisure services for the young. It also includes a library and a community café where locals can meet and talk over a cup of coffee or sit and read – encouraging the mixing of different social groups and generations. Many centralized services of the City of Tampere, such as an employment and social services expert, are also available at the Wellness Center to ensure that all relevant services are close to the customer. The Wellness Center also organizes activities for locals that support their wellbeing and help reduce the need for expensive healthcare or social services. Example activities include:
- Weekly meetings for the long-term unemployed with different themes such as: available training courses, increasing exercise, preventing diabetes, reducing alcohol use and smoking, using the library, and personal finances and social security
- Basic language and math courses intended especially for immigrant mothers
- Digital skills classes for seniors
The Tesoma Alliance model has developed cost-effective and high-quality services for the region, delivered via the Tesoma Wellness Center. Residents’ wellness has been improved by increasing the availability of customer-focused services, enhancing social well-being and community, strengthening self-care opportunities, and increasing the digitalization of wellness services.
The economic figures have not yet been officially released as the Tesoma Alliance will not have a definitive review until 2021, when the first commercially binding contract period comes to an end. However, after the first 2.5 years of operation, the costs were approximately four million euros (nearly 15 %) lower than expected.
The wellbeing of children and young people in the area has improved as measured by the national biannual School Wellness Survey. An increasing share of working-age patients with type 2 diabetes have been receiving systematic and planned treatment for their disease – and they have been encouraged by a multi-professional team to exercise more, ensure healthier eating habits and to take part in group activities. Health services are now better available than before or than they are now in municipal units. Access to services as measured by T3 (days to third available non-urgent doctor’s appointment; median of all doctors working at health center) at Tesoma has been less than 14 days, whereas the average T3 of Tampere municipal health centers is approximately 30.
Several new services have been introduced without an increase in the target cost. A local physiotherapist was hired to reduce patients’ waiting and healing time and to decrease unnecessary use of medical services. As mental health issues, alcohol and drug abuse, and social problems pose a significant challenge in the Tesoma area, a multi-professional team addressing these was built up at the Wellness Center. The results have been excellent; especially when considering that the capacity of psychiatric care and even social services is limited elsewhere. Customers also appreciate and benefit from having access to these services more easily and closer to where they live.
The contact period for the Tesoma Alliance is 10 years. The most important results, of course, will hopefully be seen in the years to come, as building wellness takes time. However, it looks obvious even at the beginning that the biggest health benefit – value – is created in close collaboration and synergy between innovative long-term partners sharing common goals.