Having outstanding engagement and communications is a key part of spreading and sharing solutions, ideas and innovations in the health tech space. With this in mind, as we continue to count down towards our Health Tech Awards 2021, it’s time to turn our attention to those that have excelled in this area.
Without further ado, here are our fantastic finalists in the ‘Excellence in Engagement and Communications. category. Find out more about the strategies, initiatives and outreach our entrants used below…
iOWNA wHealth is a solution to help clinicians to deliver ‘personalised patient-centric interactions’. The company’s mission is to ‘enable people to live longer healthier lives through improving clinical outcomes’, and to free-up up clinician time to spend with patients by allowing them to gather patient information in advance and send out tailored information bundles that people can browse at their leisure. It adds that this is an alternative to the hypothetical scenario of clinicians handing out leaflets that will get lost and ‘panicked googling’ from patients.
According to the company, the iOWNA platform facilitates clinician-patient interactions on the clinician’s terms, allows a lot of data capture and information sharing to be done outside of appointments, manages patient expectation and eases the burden on health staff. From a communication and engagement perspective it can reach out to patients for additional information or send out forms that need to be completed pre-consultation, leaving clinicians with a maximum amount of time to have conversations with their patients and potentially make them fee heard and valued.
As an example, iOWNA says that, during the pandemic, when multiple patient queries about vaccines mounted up, clinicians using iOWNA were able to send out relevant information to concerned patients with one click. Physicians can also use the platform to power remote care packages for specific drugs, using iOWNA to send bundles of information to patients at certain time points in their drug pathway, including interactive and patient-friendly forms which the patient fills out to report any side effects.
The company is currently running a pilot at Milton Keynes University Hospital and has more pilots underway.
Feedback’s flagship imaging-based clinical communications platform, Bleepa®, is focused on improving patient care by enabling clinicians to communicate quickly and securely, at the ‘touch of a button’. Its clinical messaging app allows medical staff to securely view and discuss high-quality medical grade images on mobile devices.
It enables remote and secure communications between clinicians and teams, and is a CE and UKCA Marked digital medical imaging communications tool which provides flexible access on the go for what it calls a ‘rapidly evolving workforce’.
According to the company, it is also the only regulated platform on the NHSx Clinical Communications Framework, and equips frontline teams with the ability to share patient images such as X-ray, CT, MRI or ultrasound at a standard approved for clinical use, alongside instant-messaging-based case discussion and video calls to support decision-making for safer patient care.
A photo-capture module enables clinicians to acquire clinical images of patients, such as in-field medical photographs of skin lesions, and document capture is used for additional patient information, ECG and blood test results within the patient record. Bleepa can also facilitate clinical referrals and treatment decisions within a hospital, between hospitals and pan-regionally for networked care and smoother and swifter transfer from one medical team to another. Ultimately, it aims to link clinicians, frontline staff and patients, instantly and safely – from anywhere, and was added to the Department for International Trade’s First 100 UK Digital Health Companies Playbook, for fast evolving and pioneering Digital Health companies.
Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust used Bleepa’s ability to enable remote working and streamline referral processes, saving 36.3 weeks annually per clinician and reducing the referral time from 7.4 days to under one day. The contract has since been expanded to cover 10 specialties within the hospital and has potential for use across the trust. Bleepa has also won contracts at the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust and Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
Medichecks supported the NHS Blood Transplant Service (NHSBT) in a pilot that measured COVID antibodies in potential plasma donors.
A healthcare testing provider, Medichecks was selected by the NHSBT, supplying over 37,000 blood tests within three months. For a major research project assessing COVID antibodies among potential plasma donors, the company applied ecommerce conversion techniques, creating a bespoke communications strategy in a matter of weeks.
Selected to deliver a pilot which involved supplying finger prick blood test kits for COVID antibody tests to thousands of volunteers who registered through the NHSBT service, Medichecks sent approximately 251,000 emails over the three-month pilot, including communications about the end of the trial to ensure donors were well informed at every stage.
As part of the donor journey, Medichecks also created a landing page which enabled volunteers to sign up to receive their at-home sample collection kit and achieved a 66 per cent registration rate.
Crucial to the success of the project was tailored communications, with each donor provided with informative materials and updates throughout the testing process. This effective strategy was devised within weeks, to meet the NHS’ fast turnaround requirements. Medichecks’ touchpoints with volunteers on the testing journey included:
- Your kit has been dispatched – 86 per cent open rate
- Top tips for collecting your blood sample (devised based on the most common failure reasons given during feedback opportunities)
- Your sample has arrived at the lab – 88 per cent open rate
- Results available to view – 94 per cent open rate, 98 per cent click through rate
- A sample error has been identified – 89 per cent open rate
- Reminder to return kit, email 1 – 70 per cent open rate
- Reminder to return kit email 2 – 59 per cent open rate
- Feedback survey (donors who completed their test) – 69 per cent open rate.
Overall, 94 per cent of respondents rated their experience as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’, while 97 per cent said that they found the email communications helpful and 82 per cent said they would be happy to participate in remote blood testing again using an at-home finger-prick test.
Medichecks was commended by NHSBT for its ‘prompt communications’ and a notably low complaint rate of nine. A letter of recognition to Medichecks from Dr Gail Miflin, NHS’ Chief Medical Officer, said: “Medichecks was a key partner in [this] pilot. With its finger prick blood test, we were able to successfully pre-screen donor candidates and identify those with high levels of antibodies so that we could make more efficient use of our donor centres. With Medichecks’ support we sampled around 37,600 candidates and identified over 12,700 potential high titre donors and proved a sampling model that we can build on in the future.
“Our team was particularly impressed by Medichecks’ willingness to help, the speed of response, the ability to deliver an engaging donor journey and the joint cooperation we developed in building the technical and reporting solutions.”
The communication app myo is another of our impressive finalists in this section. Its goals are around transforming relationships in care and bringing families closer to their loved-ones by allowing caregivers to easily share secure content, videos and messages of moments from everyday caregiving.
According to the company it is 100 per cent GDPR-compliant and supports the care-ecosystem to communicate digitally and efficiently, and build more personal, trust-based relationships.
Describing an “information asymmetry between residents, caregivers and families in the care sector” due to those in care often being digitally-excluded or struggling to communicate independently, myo says communication can be infrequent, scattered across multiple channels, time-consuming, error-heavy and stress-laden.
Using the onset of COVID-19 to highlight the ‘digital divide’ in care, myo adds that it aims to bring “radical change to the way the care sector communicates,” through its fully-integrated digital communication system that is suitable for a low-digital environment and specifically suitable for care homes.
The app allows for direct contact between residents and their families through what is describes as a “joyful social media platform” that provides “broad insight into full life in the care home” and gives a voice to caregivers, disrupting the “negative communication cycle.”
The services from myo were temporarily offered for free during COVID, until the situation stabilises and, as a result, the company says myo has had an 800 per cent increase in usage among existing clients – while adding over 2,000 families during the crisis.
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s (CUH) MyChart patient portal is our final finalist in this category. As the trust’s electronic patient portal, it is directly integrated to the electronic patient record (EPR). With over 76,000 users, Cambridge says it has “proved pivotal during COVID-19” by supporting the self-booking of 13,507 vaccination appointments electronically, securely releasing 4,800 swab test results per week to patients and staff personal devices.
Prior to implementation of the solution, all letters and clinical correspondence were generated in CUH’s EPR system and then sent to patients primarily via the post. With MyChart, which Cambridge says is the first patient portal in the UK to be directly integrated with an EPR, patients receive their hospital information – about appointments, clinical correspondence, test results, conditions, medications, allergies, and vitals – in a ‘more timely way’, enabling them to be more involved and informed about their care and conditions.
Over the past two years, the trust has developed additional functionality in collaboration with its MyChart patient group, including the introduction of automatic results release. On average, the trust says that approximately 120,000 test results are automatically sent to patients each month via MyChart, instead of being manually released or posted. In January 2020, proxy access was also enabled to allow parents and guardians to access their child’s hospital health records in a more convenient way.
These developments have been enabled by the trust’s eHospital digital team – a team of staff with combined clinical, operational, technical, analytical, administrative, managerial and training expertise.
Over the past year or so, the benefits of MyChart have included clinicians using the portal to share information about COVID-19 and changes to care, the ability for patients to upload photographs of their wounds and conditions, allowing the workforce to receive the results of a large-scale staff asymptomatic COVID-19 PCR swab testing programme direct to their personal devices, and the self-scheduling of appointments.
New COVID-19 workflows were also designed and built in-house within the trust’s EPR and MyChart to enable the self-scheduling of vaccination appointments by staff, enabling the direct booking of 13,507 COVID-19 vaccination appointments. In addition, the teams also built a COVID-19 vaccination workflow for both CUH outpatients and inpatients to inform, book, document, and track their COVID-19 vaccination status electronically through MyChart.