In my previous position I’ve been working with teams trying to deliver healthcare in new ways – ways that are more efficient, more patient-centred and more integrated. I work in work in partnership with health and social care providers to re-design services, refine care pathways and improve business processes. We create the digital products that enable this happen. The goal is to deliver integrated digital healthcare and help turn patients from passive to active participants in their care. That’s the big idea anyway.
Over the last two I’ve been designing a suites of digital tools and apps with Digital Life Sciences through Innovate UK’s dallas project in collaboration with health professionals, that enable us as patients to join the conversation about our health and wellbeing.
The NHS and healthcare in general is a paternal system and quite often, if we have one or more long-term condition or a complicated diagnosis we find that there is a conversation about our health – but it tends to be among health professional and it goes on around us, and sometimes without us.
I write as a layman with more experience than I would like, as a carer, father, son and husband, navigating and negotiating my way through GP practices and the NHS, but also as a Product Designer and Service Innovation Designer working with dedicated and passionate health professional across the UK to deliver healthcare in new ways.
I strongly believe that we should be doing two things:-
- Giving health professional the tools and processes to change passive patients into active participants in managed self care and well being.
- Giving citizens, patients and carers the tools, confidence and support to be active participants in their own care – when able.
If you work in digital media, travel, retail or banking you’ll think I’m off my head. This sort stuff and thinking has been around forever hasn’t it? Nope, not in healthcare! Tools that enable citizens to be actively involved in the formal healthcare with a GP or a nurse or a specialist just don’t exist. There is IT in the NHS, lots of it and it’s very secure, but it’s not patient centric. I could say more, it’s complicated, but let’s not get distracted.
In my experience the idea of an active patient is systematically discouraged. I want to change that, the clinicians we speak to want to change that and so do I.
After 18 months of working with hundreds of health professionals and patients there are five or six digital products developed through dallas. I think that is brilliant. Amazing actually. Nothing like this collection of integrated tools really exists in health, really! That’s not to say there aren’t magical bits of technology and excellent application design. But I can say that I’ve been distracted, distressed and panicked by various similar claims over the last 3 or 4 years yet when you dig deeper they are often projects still to be developed, not citizen owned, not very good nor very useful.
I’m proud what we’ve achieved so far. But it’s only half the story. We now have to work even harder to deploy these tools so they are used for good.
I assume I’m about to be swapped with counter claims saying I’m nuts and actually that would be brilliant. In my opinion there should be lots of citizen/patient centred tools and apps on the market and anyway I’m often being told I’m an idiot. And more recently a grumpy idiot.
Here is a synopsis of the products I designed for DLS as part of the dallas project:-
A Better Plan
A Better Plan is an online health journal that you can use to create and manage your own personalised life and care plans.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a diabetes, A Better Plan can help you to reflect on your health, find out more about your condition and organise your thoughts so that you can take a more proactive role in discussions with health professionals, your family and friends.
With A Better Plan you can keep a complete set of your own health information in one secure place. You can access and update this information when you need to and choose to share it with others where appropriate. There are lots of details that are important in helping you keep track of your health.
- List your conditions and allergies, related medications or treatments
- Log family health history
- Store documents safely in one place: shared care plans, test results, letters from specialists, scans and any other important documents
- Record and save key home measurements such as blood pressure, blood sugars and weight, so you can see any changes over time and share with you health professional.
- List of key contacts such as your GP, consultants, other healthcare providers, family, carers and friends
- Set goals, create plans and share achievements
A Better Plan also has a library of articles and videos Which you can use to learn more about the conditions affecting you.
A Better Plan is currently being piloted in Liverpool, Highlands, Grampian, Kent and Birmingham.
Have a look at: www.abetterplan.co.uk
It can be easy to miss key information during a consultation with a GP or specialist especially if the diagnosis is a shock, or the explanation involves quite technical medical language, these things make it hard to remember all the details.
No Delays allows the GP or specialist to email you a personalised video postcard containing short videos that explain your condition and diagnosis.
The videos also enable you to meet members of the local team involved in your care, understand the local services available, and hear other patients describe their own experiences of living with the condition.
This means that you can have time at home, in a more relaxed environment, to review what the specialist or GP has told you, as well as share your information with family members and carers. There are also links to support groups and other approved sources and simple quizzes that help you check your understanding of the diagnosis and next steps.
See an example some of the digital postcards on NHS 24’s Living it Up.
We are working with a large consortium of GP practices in the West Midlands of England called the Modality Partnership. They are moving their service towards access 8am to 8pm – 7 days a week access and using the internet to deliver consultations, digital prescriptions and patient/clinician communication tools.
Video guides provide advice and information about their online services and some common medical conditions. There is a guide for students who register with Vitality and videos to help patients lead a healthy lifestyle.
Presented by Vitality staff, the videos provide clear, clinically-assured information to help patients manage their health concerns either at home or by accessing the Vitality team at a surgery. Links to trusted providers of additional information and resources are also provided.
Good Neighbours is a site that allows you to create and manage a small network of people,who you trust to help you in either day to day tasks or in an emergency.
You can assign tasks, share key details such as your doctor’s number or relevant contact information, message members and store information about your condition.
Good Neighbours is the sister site of ‘A better plan’, where you can reflect, monitor, create and act out a plan for how you live your life. It is fully integrated with A Better Plan, so you use both from the same account.
Good Neighbours: www.mygoodneighbours.co.uk
When a domiciliary or home carer visits a client, they write a journal entry and confirm they’ve completed the tasks list (care plan) associated with the visit. This information is stored in a Day Book which resides with the client and it is literally an A4, loose leaf folder. The folder contains useful information about the client and their situation and a risk assessment. Typically every 4 weeks or so the journal entries are collected by the domiciliary care agency and filed
This low-tech solution works within limited parameters. It means that an agency can fulfil appointments with any member of their care team who doesn’t need to bring any information other than the clients’ address, because they can check the Day Book.
In a digital world this process could be made more efficient, more convivial and could deliver more effective care. I was working with Digital Life Sciences and Kent County Council to achieve just this. Kent need to have more joined-up health and social care teams to help them meet the budgetary challenges their growing aged population will bing in the coming years.
eDaybook is a Windows8 app that will piloted with in Kent with Meritum Independent Living as a replacement for the hard copy Day Book. The goal is to give carers more pertinent information before they knock on the door and help to make a better circle of care for their clients.
eDaybook features include:
A Client list, Messaging, Care Plan,Journal entries, Journal histories, Need to knows, Risk assessments, Recent histories, HealthVault Access and a Circle of Support
And hopefully coming some time in the near future we’ll be talking about another other product soon to go into development…
A Better Plan?
So have a look. Share, tell me your ideas and mail me if I’ve touched a nerve, you think I’m an idiot or you want to try out some of our tools. I’m not actually sure if I have got a better plan but I have a plan and I’m not grumpy.