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RCNi Primary Health Care; Being tech savvy-enhances the care you give

“ Technology works as a link, providing extra support and building confidence. ”  Ann Hughes 

As a practice nurse herself, Ann understands the questions that those new to using technology may have which is something she addresses in her article.
Ann Hughes, a Practice Nurse with North Staffordshire CCG’s has recently been published in the RCNi’s Primary Health Care Journal (October 2017).  Ann tackles how embracing technology – including Flo – can enhance the care you are able to give to your patients.

“I don’t like change”
For many clinicians, change can be unsettling, especially given the rate of rapid transformation that the NHS is experiencing.  Ann asks readers to consider how they can continue to give the best level of care to their patients, many of whom are living longer with combinations of long term conditions (LTCs).  Her answer to the issue of dealing with change is simple; introduce things slowly so that confidence can be built up gradually.  Eventually, using new technology becomes simple and second nature!

“My patients won’t be able to do it”
It is often assumed that older patients won’t have the knowledge required to use technology to help them self-manage their health.  However, as Ann points out, using technology is the norm, and many older patients use a mobile phone or tablet, and we shouldn’t underestimate our older population.  Ann also adds that for those not using technology, introducing it can be a great boost, as secondary benefits such as now being able to contact friends and family, becoming less isolated in the process.

“How can technology provide a better service than I can personally?”
Clinicians are, of course best placed to provide care to their patients, so for some there may be the concern that health technology will reduce the quality of care patients receive.  However, as Ann suggests, it is important to see technology as an addition to the care that clinicians provide, rather than a substitute for it.  As Ann puts it, technology relies on a clinician’s professional knowledge first and foremost.

“What benefits does it have for the patient?”
Ann reminds us that for many patients, it can be difficult to retain all of the information they are given during a face to face consultation, especially if their condition is new to them and they are feeling overwhelmed.  This is where Flo can help.  Technologies used in healthcare ensure that the real time guidance received by patients is current and correct, resulting in patients with increased confidence and capability to self-manage; and the motivation to do so.

“What proof do we have that this works for our patients?”
It is one thing to be told that technology is helping to improve patient’s lives, but another to see real life examples of this.  Ann provides us with two of her own first hand experiences, both of which showcase how Flo is helping patients.

Firstly, Ann talks about a patient who used Flo to help monitor their pre-op blood pressure.  The patient’s initial cataract surgery could not proceed due to elevated blood pressure, but, with Flo’s support, within three days the patient demonstrated enough stable readings sent via Flo from home for this to go ahead.  The patient’s quality of live has improved greatly since her surgery, demonstrating how technology such as Flo really can improve patient’s lives.

The second patient that Ann discussed was struggling to cope with managing her COPD, resulting in numerous calls to paramedics, A&E admission and two inpatient stays within only 2 months.  The patient was introduced to Flo and replied when prompted with her oxygen saturation levels and sputum colour readings daily.  Depending on the patient’s condition that day, they would receive advice from Flo according to the shared management plan they agreed with their clinician.  Over the first 12 months using Flo, the patient only attended her GP surgery once!  The patient is now living a more active life, and her condition is far more controlled.

Ann believes that technologies, such as Flo, can benefit both patients and healthcare teams:

  • Improve patient confidence. 
  • Improve quality of care. 
  • Help to avoid unnecessary surgery attendances. 

As you can see, having first-hand experience Ann really does believe in using technology such as Flo to improve the quality of care that can be given to patients.  Ann has previously described herself as a “technophobe”, so to see her embracing and recommending technology in healthcare is inspiring!

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Ann’s RCNi column

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