King’s College Hospital Rheumatology
What we developed
Co-Creation with the NHS
Around 10 million people in the UK have a form of arthritis. Treating the condition early-on may prevent further damage, improve long-term functionality and increase the likelihood of disease remission. One of the main challenges that the KCH – Rheumatology consultants that were heading the project were faced with was getting information to and from the patients. They were on the quest of finding a uniform and efficient solution across all RD departments in the UK that can be used by all patients and doctors. After some focus groups, it became apparent that touch screen technology was easier than paper based questionnaires for people with arthritis. The consultants were looking to increase patient engagement with the hospital and the doctors that were treating them. They were looking to improve patient care and reporting. They also recognised that elderly patients found it difficult to collate the various sets of information linked to their health condition and wanted to provide a solution to this problem.
The first weeks and months following the onset of rheumatic disease symptoms are known as the “window of opportunity,” and it is crucial that patients get appropriate treatment in that time period to avoid long-term complications.
Patients with chronic and long-term diseases need continuous support and monitoring. Most patients are required to fill health questionnaires periodically. Patient Reported Outcomes Measures (PROMs) assess the quality of care delivered by the NHS from a patient perspective. The rheumatology consultants wanted to make the exchange of information between doctors and patients as efficient as possible. The app allows for patients to fill in information about the state of their disease and send them back to their doctors through a secure server. Additionally, the app serves as an information hub for the patients, having everything they need to know about their condition and hospital in one, reliable, focal point. Appointment booking, a detailed map of the hospital and the history of patients’ conditions are also key features of the app that make it extremely useful to both patients and doctors.
Improved Patient Outcomes
The app provides patients with the ability to retain a 360 degree view of their health condition and treatment and gives them full visibility over their past, present and future appointments. It also guides patients throughout their treatment, reminding them of what needs to be done next (ie. blood tests, physiotherapy, appointments, etc). The app has become a standard tool in the clinic to signpost patients to clinical services. It has also proved to be very beneficial in allowing patients to monitor their healing process throughout. After the app was launched, much in-hospital paperwork and waiting time has been eliminated and more than a quarter of patients have downloaded the app.
Given the chronicity of many of the diseases that we treat, there has been a focus on collecting behavioral data that may help us better understand how well or how poorly our patients are functioning on the many days between their office visits