The year 2020 was overshadowed by the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, and we played a key role in the frontline response. Although the pandemic had an impact on the entire year, we never halted our other operations because of it.
Deployment of the Apotti patient and customer information system was extended to all HUS hospitals in autumn 2020. Before the pandemic began, about half of HUS was using Apotti. This was the most extensive operational reform project in our history. At the same time, we adopted the Maisa e-transaction service for customers.
From the point of view of medical care services, the year was highly exceptional: the demand for our services and the number of non-urgent referrals and emergency clinic visits actually went down. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, we attempted to perform as many elective procedures as possible via remote consultation, which showed in a substantial growth of online services. In all, the pandemic accelerated our general strategic goal of digitalization, which progressed much faster than expected.
We cared for nearly 700,000 patients in the year under review. About one in three of the residents of member municipalities used our specialist medical care services.
The pandemic also had a substantial impact on our finances. The original budget showed a deficit of EUR 40 million in 2020 due to the non-recurring expenses of the Apotti deployment. The actual deficit, however, was considerably larger due to the additional expenses caused by the coronavirus response that were not covered by the government grant received. Deficit will be made up by levying a surcharge from the member municipalities. This brings the financial year’s net profit to a zero.
We engage in domestic and international cutting edge research with the University of Helsinki. In 2020, we employed more than 1,000 specializing physicians and more than 800 medical undergraduates in internships at HUS hospitals. During the year, about 60 coronavirus studies were begun, and at the same time we expedited the research permit process by making it simpler to launch a study.
The year 2020 was the first year of our new strategy. In this exceptional year, we nevertheless set out to work towards the goals outlined in the strategy and focused on communicating our values: Caring, Pioneership and Equality.
One of the key areas of our strategy is responsibility and striving for sustainable development in all our operations. It is our goal to make HUS carbon neutral by the year 2030. In spring 2020, we took a major step towards carbon neutrality by obtaining guarantees that the electrical power that we use is generated with renewable, carbon-free sources.
Come and see what we did at HUS in 2020!