Karen Moore, Member Services Manager for digital platform Florence (from DigitalHealth.London Accelerator company psHEALTH), shares an update on recent work done using the Florence platform in relation to COVID-19.
Florence (or Flo to her friends) is a simple to use digital platform used to deliver personalised, targeted behavioural psychology-based messaging. It was designed by looking at behaviours and what motivates patients to increase their quality of care in between face-to-face contacts, as part of a shared management plan. Flo focuses on helping patients to help themselves. The pathways (message schedules sent to the patient) are often developed by local clinical teams but existing pathways and best practice are willingly shared amongst organisations using Flo.
East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) were one of the first members to recognise Flo’s potential role in their local COVID-19 response and began developing pathways to support patients early in the COVID-19 pandemic. The ELFT Telehealth Team was aware that people would likely be overwhelmed with the amount of official information and number of updates and confused by misinformation spread via word of mouth and social media. In response, a pathway was developed to both provide reassurance to patients with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 who were well enough to be discharged home, and for those patients in the community who were in the extremely high-risk group.
Many patients are self-monitoring their symptoms daily, including patients post-Covid discharge, and they do this through integrated discharge hubs from the acute setting. Flo provides these patients with approved guidance and support around how to continue to monitor their recovery at home. If a patient meets a designated clinical threshold, Flo directs the patient to contact 111 as per official guidance.
The Telehealth Team at ELFT integrated daily symptom checker questions into pathways for patients who were already being supported by Flo for pre-existing health conditions for whom the consequences of contracting the virus could be more severe.
ELFT also recognised the increased levels of anxiety these patient cohorts had around both their physical and psychological wellbeing during COVID-19. Flo’s regular friendly prompts continue to reassure patients, keeping them safe and helping them to feel cared for and connected to their community healthcare team. Enabling early identification of exacerbations allows timely intervention to avoid hospital admissions where appropriate.
One patient was particularly grateful for Flo’s help and provided some feedback explaining how Flo has helped them during this difficult time:
“The team are looking after me very well. But at this time when I feel more anxious with COVID-19, they have added some new questions to my Florence app. I can answer the questions and send my answers over very quickly, and they respond to me if I’m having any problems. This has made me feel a bit more at ease and not call my GP at this busy time. Thank you to the Telehealth Team.”
Raguraman Padmanabhan, Telehealth Clinical and Service Lead at ELFT, commented on his experience implementing Flo during the COVID-19 outbreak:
“Flo for COVID-19 has been a significant addition to the existing protocols and has helped reshape care pathways to facilitate care from hospital to home. Our service users informed us that it has been very reassuring and felt well connected with the team if they had any queries. We are looking into extending it to other specialist services in the community.”
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psHEALTH is currently one of 20 digital health companies on the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator programme.
The DigitalHealth.London Accelerator is a collaborative programme funded by London’s three Academic Health Science Networks – UCL Partners, Imperial College Health Partners, and the Health Innovation Network, MedCity, CW+ and receives match funding from the European Regional Development Fund.