Our first Spotlight focuses on our colleague Morag Hearty, who works for NHS Lanarkshire. Morag’s career started with the NHS in 1970 as a student nurse at Glasgow Royal Infirmary. She has progressed over the years in a variety of acute and community nursing posts including the setting up of multi disciplinary /inter agency teams. Her involvement with Telehealth started with the NHS 24 led European Project, United4health in 2013-15 gathering further momentum within the Scottish Government’s national TEC programme, among a number of other exciting projects.
Morag told us about one of the telehealth solutions that is in use in Lanarkshire;
“The Florence (Flo) simple text messaging has been the mainstay of our Home and Mobile Health Monitoring (HMHM) programme from the outset and we have initiated a wide variety of uses.
From the obvious long-term conditions: respiratory, heart failure, diabetes, mental health and hypertension to health improvement: smoking cessation, activity monitoring, weight management and lifestyle programmes. Depending on the service this can include clinical readings e.g. blood pressure, symptoms e.g. mood, cough etc or adherence to programmes e.g. lifestyle changes
Most uses include some additional advice, reminders, tips and links to external web sites as appropriate.”
The system has been brought to life via Fraser’s story, which you can watch here: https://vimeo.com/198187123
Morag explained that anyone could benefit from the optional or additional support via text messaging to support their health and wellbeing- the project supports young children (via their parent’s phone!) for diabetes, right up to people in their nineties using the system! It can help some of those who are more difficult to reach e.g. teenagers, people with zero hour/shift contracts. Texts can be less intrusive than telephone calls, or can avoid travel/ time off work etc. People report they feel supported and more able to manage their health issues.
Morag goes on to say that “The primary objective is improved outcomes for our public, staff and carers. We also want to support an increase in self-management and most efficient use of resources. Over the course of the project we have loved seeing the growth and enthusiasm across Lanarkshire for adopting new technology enabled care pathways. We have developed a small but brilliant team who had no previous clinical or “techie” background!
Naturally we want to demonstrate a positive return on investment, and our public have been some of our biggest advocates. They consistently report the advantages of using Flo and how easy it is. In fact we know that more than one GP practice came on board following ‘patient power’!” It’s been great seeing our team co produce with services- start with a wee idea or request for “appointment reminders” and end up with something really ground breaking!
Morag’s story shows how a seemingly simple idea reaps positive benefits for both the public and staff alike.
You can hear more from Morag on her personal journey and experiences with Flo via this BBC podcast, which can be accessed below: