Practice Nurse and Telehealthcare Facilitator
Keeping it Simple with Flo – Ann Hughes
Technology is rapidly advancing and can offer all sorts of useful solutions that many of us use already in everyday life but I would be the first to confess that I am a complete technophobe. Therefore, any new technology that I am going to use and recommend to my patients has to be easy to use and understand.
Florence (Flo) became my friend a few years ago and she has provided a simple way for me to help my patients to look after their own health better. At first I was cautious but soon realised that Flo was easy to use, intuitive and I could see how she would help. I initially used some existing protocols but as my confidence and experience has grown I am now customising some aspects to personalise the outcomes to individual patients.
Here are some examples of when keeping it simple helped change things for the better for my patients:
A worried parent came to me for help to get her teenage son to comply with his asthma medication better. There had been a lot of arguments between them at home as he felt she was nagging him about it all the time and thought that, now he was older he knew better and didn’t need to listen to her.
I suggested that Flo could help to both remind him to take his inhalers regularly and to send friendly, educational messages which would help him to understand why this was important in relation to making his condition better. Mum thought this was great as it would be ‘Flo’s job’ to remind him and not hers, removing that tension. The son was happy to receive Flo’s messages as using his phone was part of his normal daily life and wouldn’t make him stand out as different at school.
On review a few weeks later Mum said she had not once needed to remind him to take his inhalers and that she had noticed that he needed his blue inhaler less as he was taking his preventative inhaler correctly and regularly now.
The son found Flo’s interactions discreet and useful and the educational information he received was helping him to understand asthma better and was delivered in a way he found interesting which increased his compliance.
The rows between son and Mum had stopped, life was better for both of them.
When an elderly patient went for her pre-operative assessment at the hospital her blood pressure was found to be very high which could have meant postponing her operation. She had been advised to contact her GP surgery for monitoring.
Instead of the patient coming into the surgery for blood pressure readings weekly and probably meaning rescheduling of her operation, I suggested using Flo to allow her to monitor her blood pressure herself at home and record real time readings. I showed her how to use her blood pressure monitor and as the patient didn’t have a mobile phone I arranged for her son, who lived with her, to send and receive messages from Flo on her behalf, which he was happy to do. Over the next four days the patient’s readings were sent to Flo twice a day with the appropriate advice depending on the patient’s blood pressure.
On reviewing the patient’s readings, I found they were all normal and I was able to send a copy of these readings, together with a short explanation, to the pre-operative assessment team and the outcome was that they were happy that the patient did not have hypertension and the operation could go ahead as scheduled. I messaged my patient via Flo, to say everything was OK and to reassure her the operation would go ahead as planned.
Using Flo ensured a quick solution, allowing the patient to provide all the necessary data easily from home without having to return to the surgery for a follow up appointment and also prevented cancellation of the operation or the prescribing of unnecessary medication.
Flo is producing great results in our practise for helping to diagnose patients with hypertension and to facilitating the start of medication quickly and easily.
When a patient visits the surgery and has a high blood pressure reading taken, they are immediately offered Flo to monitor this for themselves at home. Patents are prompted by Flo twice daily to take their own blood pressure using the monitor provided and to then send back the readings. After a few days these are reviewed by our nurse and if found to be within a normal range, a message is sent from Flo to reassure the patient that everything is fine, to stop the recordings and to return the monitor at their convenience. This is quick, simple and gives reassurance to the patient.
If on review the readings are found to still be high, the patient is again messaged by Flo to ask them to come into the surgery to collect a prescription. This is supported by educational messages to explain the hypertensive treatment and possible side effects to look out for which patients find reassuring. The patient continues to be prompted to send regular readings which will show if the medication is working or upon review dosages may need to be altered. This simple solution is efficient and means that the patient is commenced on the correct course of action quickly and reduces the number of follow up visits to the surgery, so freeing up clinical time to see other patients.
Patients who have used Flo report feeling supported and reassured by the messages and appreciate the simplicity and time saving.
For more information contact Ann.Hughes@northstaffs.nhs.uk
#Asthma #Pre-operative Hypertension #Hypertension #Pre-op #Acute #TotallyUnique