Home-grown digital health innovations achieve national acclaim

NHS Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are celebrating being showcased in two highly-acclaimed national health journals.

Two innovative digital solutions feature. Both have been developed in Stoke-on-Trent to help patients with long-term health conditions such as asthma, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Florence (or Flo) is an interactive telehealth platform which sends text messages to patients offering reminders and advice, or asking the patient to submit readings such as blood pressure.

Manage Your Health (MYH) is a collection of apps offering a range of formats to demonstrate key pieces of advice and information for managing a number of long-term conditions. Videos of correct inhaler techniques have been of particular benefit in improving patients’ self-management of their respiratory conditions.

In February, Prescriber featured a local project which investigated whether community pharmacists could successfully promote patient self-care using Flo and the MYH app. If pharmacists successfully improved patients’ understanding of their condition, it was anticipated that it could help prevent disease relapses, crises and/or complications.

The widescale adoption of technology enabled health care in Staffordshire is funded and supported by the Staffordshire Sustainability & Transformation Partnership (STP), West Midlands Academic Health Science Network, North Staffordshire CCG, Stoke-on-Trent CCG and the School of Pharmacy at Keele University. 

The March edition of the British Journal of General Practice mentioned Flo, text messaging, Facebook and Skype in an article about the increasing popularity of technology-enabled care services in general practice services.

Dr Ruth Chambers O.B.E., Clinical Chair of Stoke-on-Trent CCG has led these programmes from the early stages to current day adoption. She said: “It’s so great that these national publications are sharing learning from our work. We are immensely proud of these locally produced apps and other technology which put patients in control of their health, enable clinicians to catch the early signs of a patient’s condition worsening, and can help to keep so many patients out of hospital.”