The government’s digital champion’s team is dropping in to Stoke-on-Trent on 16 March to see for themselves how technology enabled care services are enabling patients to take more control of their healthcare.
The team works with Baroness Lane Fox of Soho, the founder of lastminute.com and the UK’s Digital Champion, who advises the government on how online public services delivery could help to provide better and more efficient services, as well as getting more people online.
Technology Enabled Care Services (TECS), such as telehealth, telecare, telemedicine, telecoaching and self-care apps, have the potential to transform the way people engage in and control their own healthcare by allowing citizens to monitor their health and activity levels by themselves, so the need to take up valuable clinician time to take basic health readings is no longer necessary.
The West Midlands Academic Health Science Network (WMAHSN) is working alongside Stoke-on-Trent Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) on the Technology Enabled Care Services exemplars of person-centred care programme, which sets out show how digital technology can be used to deliver care with benefits including improved patient convenience and experience, increased understanding of health conditions, better clinical outcomes and cost savings.
One method under the programme which is being adopted across the West Midlands and the UK is Florence Simple Telehealth (Flo), which uses a free mobile text service to communicate with patients with long term conditions, giving prompts and advice for them to act upon. If the patient needs a little more assistance, Flo helps them to monitor their vital signs such as blood pressure, pulse, oxygen levels and many others. Other forms of TECS being developed include apps for patients with COPD, asthma and type 2 diabetes, using Skype and video for clinical consultations and supporting patients to interact with their clinicians and practices via social media.
Appropriately, Baroness Lane Fox became interested in the great work being done by the programme team by following their activities on Twitter.
Baroness Lane Fox’s team will be visiting the CCG headquarters at the Herbert Minton Building in Stoke to hear about the drivers and benefits for persuading frontline teams to use TECS, examples of successes from the programme and how the various stakeholders have been engaged.
Dr Ruth Chambers OBE – who is leading the TECS programme – is a GP in Stoke-on-Trent, Chair of Stoke-on-Trent CCG and Clinical Lead for Long Term Conditions at the WMAHSN. She said: “We are thrilled that the great work going on the Midlands with technology enabled care services has piqued the interest of the government’s digital champion – so much so, that her team will be paying us a visit to see how these can benefit both patients and the NHS.
“The importance of what we are trying to do to support patients and help healthcare teams deliver cannot be overstated. Demands on our services are continuing to increase. Utilising digital technology will not only enable us to shape services to suit the needs and preferences of individual patients; embracing it will also help us take on the challenges we face every day.”