Virtual Clinic App is a joint development between Imobisoft and Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. The app has been developed so that patients with long-term pediatric conditions can input their symptoms onto a smartphone, and then send them to a database for review by clinicians. This allows clinicians to monitor the symptoms of patients when the symptoms actually occur and provide parents or a young person with immediate feedback on how their lifestyle or treatment impacts on their symptoms. It also provides immediate personalised education to help patients to self-manage their condition.
In the health care industry, any innovations as part of a wider informatics strategy are aimed to improve efficiencies and quality. Any innovation needs to be patient-focused and user-friendly aimed to improve the patient experience with any health care institution and beyond. Imobisoft has continued to work with Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS, for the promotion of Virtual clinic app to be implemented by a wider health care community in the UK and abroad.
Based on the BCH findings we presented the following:
Virtual clinic app is very unique which complements and contributes to the Electronic Patient Record planned for BCH and any data collected by this system could be made available through the clinical portal. The Trust has some experience in using telemedicine and wishes to use a unique service transformation project aimed at patients with chronic long-term conditions. Currently, patients with such conditions are seen in the outpatient clinic at a predetermined interval, based on
an informed ‘best guess’ of when a change in their chronic condition may have occurred. The majority of these appointments are therefore at a time when no intervention is required and the consultation generally consists of providing reassurance and ongoing advice. However, a patient’s condition may have changed in the interval between these pre-determined clinics; if they had been seen at this time an intervention could have been started earlier, potentially decreasing morbidity and preventing the need for more complex interventions or a hospital admission.
Providing parents or a young person with timely feedback on how their lifestyle or treatment impacts on their symptoms also provide immediate, personalised education to help them self manage their condition. Evidence from controlled clinical trials suggests that the empowerment created by teaching self-management skills is more effective than information-only patient education and can both improve patient outcomes and reduce costs for the wider healthcare community. We believe that the functionality of this innovative app could be applied to the vast majority of chronic long-term conditions that are currently managed with regular outpatient clinic appointments. We plan to pilot this virtual clinic app initially in a small defined population, those with Chronic Constipation, Anorectal Malformations and Hirschsprung’s Disease.
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