In July 2019, NHS Improvement published the first-ever NHS Patient Safety Strategy. The strategy outlines three main aims:
- Insight: improving understanding of safety by drawing intelligence from multiple sources of patient safety information.
- Involvement: equipping patients, staff and partners with the skills and opportunities to improve patient safety throughout the whole system.
- Improvement: designing and supporting programmes that deliver effective and sustainable change in the most important areas.
- Investing in new technology to support improved patient safety features throughout the strategy, and Flo with her solid track record of improving patient engagement and adherence to best practice clinical care is in a fantastic position to further support the Patient Safety initiative moving forwards. We have many examples of where she has already helped clinicians to ensure patient safety and improve the outcomes of best practice care.
One of the most widely used applications of Flo is in the diagnosis of hypertension. Patients who demonstrate a high blood pressure during an appointment at their GP surgery can be added to Flo’s hypertension diagnosis pathway, which asks for several readings over the course of the week to help clinicians to diagnose or rule out hypertension. Patient safety is improved by reaching a quicker decision about diagnosis, without waiting for ambulatory monitoring, or making multiple trips to the surgery. Those who have hypertension can begin treatment in a timely manner, whilst those who may have exhibited white-coat symptoms, or who are not hypertensive are quickly identified. Flo’s application across hypertension, including diagnosis and monitoring, has been so successful that the Scottish Government have made a £1.2m investment to scale up their hypertension services with Flo nationally; you can find out more about this here.
Flo has supported many patients to adhere to their medication regime, including taking insulin and inhalers, as prescribed. Ensuring medication regimes are followed is key to patient safety, as it helps to both treat and stabilise health conditions, avoiding exacerbations and flare-ups. Find out more about how Flo has helped patients stay on track with their medication:
As well as ensuring patients take medications on time, Flo can also support medication titration to make sure dosage is appropriate and correct, improving patient safety.
- Hypertension: Properly tracking blood pressure after diagnosis provides regular data which clinicians are able to use to safely and accurately titrate blood pressure medications to ensure condition control.
- Tacrolimus for renal transplant patients: Flo interacts with the patients about their dose adjustment following their most recent appointment. Flo asks patients to reply to ensure that they had read and understood the changes to their medication, thus improving patient safety.
Timely response to changes in condition:
Many patients who are introduced to Flo can send readings in to support them with self-management of their condition. Flo helps patients to improve their understanding of and ability to recognise changes in their condition, allowing them to take action or seek clinical help as appropriate. Pathways with Flo draw on pre-existing local best practice support with additional clinician input; any responses Flo sends to patients following receiving their reading contain the clinician’s advice in conjunction with the patient’s shared management plan. Implementing shared management plans with Flo can also have the added benefit of helping to standardise care as they can be used with all patients, regardless of whether they have been enrolled with Flo or not. Here are some examples where Flo’s support is helping to improve patient safety:
- Maternity: Flo has been used to support ladies with pregnancy-induced hypertension and gestational diabetes. If blood pressure or blood glucose readings are not within range, ladies are advised to contact their midwife, ensuring that any required intervention is timely.
- Diabetes: Similar to gestational diabetes pathways, patients with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are provided with advice or asked to contact their specialist nurse. This potentially avoids hypo or hyperglycemic episodes, improving long-term outcomes and patient safety.
- Oncology: Patients at the University Hospital North Midlands who were receiving chemotherapy sent temperature readings to Flo. Raised temperature can be a sign of infection; patients recording high temperature readings would be asked to attend the Emergency Assessment Bay, ensuring a prompt action to counteract any potential infection was taken.
- COPD: Patients with COPD may be asked to send readings in about a variety of symptoms, including breathlessness score, sputum colour or cough. For example; If the symptoms suggest a worsening in condition, Flo can prompt patients to follow their shared clinical management plan and start to take their rescue medication and contact their respiratory nurse. By starting medications in a timely fashion, patient safety is improved by potentially avoiding more severe exacerbations.
As you can see, innovations with Flo have already helped many clinicians ensure that their patients take an active role in improving the safety of best-practice care through better engagement and adherence to shared clinical management plans. If you would like to read more about the NHS Patient Safety Strategy, please follow this link (Membership required). For more information about how Flo can help support you in ensuring high levels of patient safety, please get in touch with a member of the team:
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