The £1.2m of new NHS funding to utilise innovative digital technologies and treatments is starting to take shape. Smart with your Heart – Listening to Patients with Heart Failure is aimed at reducing the number of people with chronic long term heart failure from being readmitted to hospital. Around 300 heart failure patients are to be identified to take part in the pilot project which will see UHNM work in partnership with three digital companies, using their new, commercially available technology, and MPFT, including the community heart failure team. A recent event saw almost 50 people – both staff and partners from Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and the three digital technologies come along to find out more ahead of the programme going live.
The first digital service will enable patients to respond to text messages asking how they are feeling compared to their last text message (same, better or worse) and these responses will be recorded by a telehealth co-ordinator. By doing this, patients will be more closely monitored and will be able to more smoothly access care in the community, should they need it, before they become acutely unwell, reducing the need to return to hospital. The second digital service will give patients exclusive access to an online health library to help them improve their own self-care behaviours while the third will refer patients to trusted third sector or voluntary sector organisations, such as bereavement counselling or citizens advice or to offer patients opportunities to engage in community groups and activities such as dance classes, allotment working or walking groups.
Dargoi Satchithananda, project lead, said: "Our stakeholder event was really positive and everyone who attended gained a better understanding of the project which will importantly help people in heart failure take better control of their own health with our support."