University of Oulu

Laukka, E., Kujala, S., Gluschkoff, K., Kanste, O., Hörhammer, I., & Heponiemi, T. (2021). Leaders’ support for using online symptom checkers in Finnish primary care: Survey study. Health Informatics Journal 27(4), 1-13.

Leaders’ support for using online symptom checkers in Finnish primary care : survey study

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Author: Laukka, Elina1,2; Kujala, Sari3; Gluschkoff, Kia2,4;
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Research Unit of Nursing Science and Health Management, Finland
2Health and Social Service System Research Team, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland
3Department of Computer Science, Aalto University, Espoo, Finland
4Department of Psychology and Logopedics, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
5Research Unit of Nursing Science and Health Management, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
6Medical Research Center, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
7Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, Aalto University, Espoo, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: SAGE Publications, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-12-01


Online symptom checkers (SCs) are eHealth solutions that offer healthcare organizations the possibility to empower their patients to independently assess their symptoms. The successful implementation of eHealth solutions, such as SCs, requires a supportive organizational culture and leadership. However, there is limited knowledge about the factors associated with leaders’ support for the use of SCs. The aim of the study was to identify the factors associated to primary care leaders’ support for SCs in triage and their experiences of the benefits and challenges related to the use of SCs. An online survey was used to collect data from 84 Finnish primary care leaders. The data were analyzed using statistical analysis methods and content analysis. Vision clarity, perceiving efficiency improvements, and considering the service to be beneficial for patients were associated with leaders’ support for the service (β ranging from 0.41 to 0.44, p < 0.001). Leaders’ support for the service was also associated with how well the leaders provided information about the service to their subordinates (β =0.22, p < 0.048). SCs present slightly more challenges than benefits regarding health professionals’ work. The developers of SCs should focus more on features that decrease health professionals’ workload as well as how the solution can benefit patients.

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Series: Health informatics journal
ISSN: 1460-4582
ISSN-E: 1741-2811
ISSN-L: 1460-4582
Volume: 27
Issue: 4
Pages: 1 - 13
DOI: 10.1177/14604582211052259
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3141 Health care science
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2021. article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (