A physiotherapist at a north Staffordshire trust has had her article on the use of social media in managing heart patients published in a premium journal.
Sonya Meigh, Lead Physiotherapist in Cardiac Rehabilitation at The Heart Centre, University Hospital of North Midlands NHS Trust (UHNM) in Stoke-on-Trent, has been published by the British Journal of Cardiac Nursing.
For health professionals engaging with patients and their carers on social media, its remote nature has posed a new challenge. Health professionals often rely on their well-developed clinical observation skills to gain information about a patient’s condition and state of health to decide the most appropriate course of action. Patients posting health-related questions on social media effectively removes one of a health professional’s key senses for clinical decision-making—and with it, a sense of control.
The opportunity to develop the use of technology was presented to the UHNM Cardiac Rehabilitation Service, where Sonya works, at a study day, delivered by Stoke Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), West Midlands Academic Science Network and supported by social enterprise.
The CCG was eager to support preliminary trials to implement the use of social media in clinical practice and this provided the cardiac rehabilitation service with an initial funding stream and access to technology expertise.
This resulted in the setting up of two distinct Facebook pages: one an open public page for generic health promotion material related to coronary heart disease (CHD) risk factors and the second, a closed group targeted towards the team’s patients and their families to ask clinical questions and support each other through the process of living with a long-term heart condition. Both pages are monitored regularly by cardiac rehabilitation staff to ensure that any discussion is clinically accurate and that new material for the page is regularly sourced and produced.
The Facebook groups have been incredibly well-received since going live, and while the initial drive behind the project was centred around quality care and patient experience, particularly to address the significant gap in programme uptake and adherence in specific patient groups, it has become apparent that social media can be a powerful tool in wider public health promotion and CHD management.
You can read the full text of the article here.