Screening University Students for Health Checks With an Electronic Health Questionnaire in Finland : Protocol for a Retrospective, Register-Based Cohort Study

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Paldanius , S , Seilo , N , Kunttu , K , Autio , R & Kaila , M 2020 , ' Screening University Students for Health Checks With an Electronic Health Questionnaire in Finland : Protocol for a Retrospective, Register-Based Cohort Study ' , JMIR Research Protocols , vol. 9 , no. 1 , 14535 . https://doi.org/10.2196/14535

Title: Screening University Students for Health Checks With an Electronic Health Questionnaire in Finland : Protocol for a Retrospective, Register-Based Cohort Study
Author: Paldanius, Susanna; Seilo, Noora; Kunttu, Kristina; Autio, Reija; Kaila, Minna
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Department of Public Health
Date: 2020-01
Language: eng
Number of pages: 9
Belongs to series: JMIR Research Protocols
ISSN: 1929-0748
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/326984
Abstract: Background: Health questionnaires and health checks are an established part of preventive health care services in Finland. However, only very limited research of these has been conducted. The Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS) provides primary health care services to all bachelor's and master's degree university students (approximately 134,500 students) in Finland. FSHS's statutory health examination process of university entrants includes an electronic health questionnaire (eHQ) and, based on the students' eHQ responses, a subsequent health check if necessary. To our knowledge, no previous studies have been published on the use of questionnaires for screening students for general health checks. Objective: The general aim of the study is to evaluate the health examination process of university entrants. The objectives are to determine how students' self-reported health in the eHQ and participation in the health examination process are associated with graduation, mental health problems, and the use of student health care services. Methods: This is an ongoing, nationwide, retrospective, register-based cohort study with a 6-year follow-up. The study population is the cohort of university entrants (N=15,723) from the 2011-2012 academic year. These students were sent the eHQ, which consisted of 26 questions about health, health habits, social relations, and studying. Based on the eHQ responses, students were referred to one of the following interventions: (1) a health check, (2) an appointment other than a health check (eg, physiotherapy), or (3) electronic feedback to support a healthy lifestyle, when the other interventions were not necessary. Multiple comparisons will be made within these groups using logistic regression. The primary outcome variables are graduation, having a mental health problem, and attending a health check. The use of FSHS health care services will be studied with the cluster analysis method. The data have been obtained from three nationwide registers: the eHQ register, the medical records of FSHS, and the Higher education achievement register. The data have been linked using personal identity codes. Results: As of August 2019, the data collection and processing are complete and the statistical analyses are in progress. Preliminary results are expected in autumn 2019. Further publications are expected in 2020, and two PhD theses are expected to be completed by the end of 2022. Conclusions: Studying practical procedures in primary health care is highly important for resource allocation and the development of evidence-based processes. This study will be the first to assess the usage of a health questionnaire in screening students for health checks. The findings of this study will contribute to the field of preventive health care. The main practical implication is the development of the FSHS's health examination process. We hypothesize that participation in the health examination process enhances academic achievement and the detection of university students' mental health problems early on in their studies.
Subject: electronic health questionnaire
health check
screening
students
student health services
digitalization
register study
preventive health services
PREVALENCE
DISORDERS
QUALITY
3141 Health care science
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