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Since OLKA was created, voluntary peer support in special medical care areas has been in high demand. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the operations, as hospital visits of the supporters had to be canceled. To meet the growing demand of support, while tackling the restrictions in live contacts, OLKA started a digital transformation project with a simple goal: Scale-up the program by going virtual. What emerged was something totally new: Toivo application —a platform to connect the volunteers and the patients easily in the time and place of their own convenience.
Toivo peer support mobile application is at the heart of the digital transformation. It is a GDPR compliant, 24/7 all-in-one mobile service, which connects the support seekers with peer supporters via chat or VoiP calls. It is free to use and privacy friendly, as the support seekers can use the service with a nickname without the need to register their personal information.
Search indexes available peer supporters with over 500 keywords and diagnoses, making it easy for the support seekers to find the right match for example different cancers and heart diseases —but also more rare ones like “22q11-duplication”. Especially with the rare diagnostics, a dedicated platform like Toivo is valuable as the go-to-place for trusted information and support.
For the participating NGO’s, a mobile platform is a totally new way to offer their services, promote their events, and connect with their key audiences as part of a wider ecosystem. For OLKA, which coordinates the ecosystem, the platform generates data on how the support network functions, making it easier to further develop the service for all the participants.
Data points on the OLKA management dashboard include the overall activity of the network; the number of contacts, chats and calls, the most active peer supporters and support seekers, the most active NGO’s and so on. The participating NGO’s get regular reports on their own performance in the app, which is essential information for developing their operations and for impact reporting.
After the launch Toivo has been growing fast. There are now 80 voluntary peer supporters on the platform from over 20 co-operating NGOs, such as Syöpäjärjestöt, Invalidiliitto and Suomen Sydänliitto. Together they have already helped more than 700 support seekers who have used the service.
Year 2022 will be the year of growth; more NGOs and peer supporters will be joining in Toivo, meaning more content and events for the users.
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