New self care project receives backing

October 15, 2014 Written by Nadia Tavana
We are pleased to announce that we have received support from the West of England Academic Health Science Network for an innovative new project involving supported self care.
Working in partnership with Philips Healthcare and The Lennard Surgery, a general practice in Bedminster Down, our project team will look at the feasibility of using a package of technology, education and support from clinicians (called supported self-care), to empower appropriate patients to manage their health needs at home.
The project aims to increase patients’ confidence in safely managing their own healthcare and keep them independent for longer. It will also highlight more complex patients, who require intensive monitoring together with regular support and coaching, to help them sustainably manage their conditions.
Since 2011, Bristol Community Health has used simple handheld electronic devices with over 1100 Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD) and heart failure patients in their homes, in partnership with Bristol CCG. The devices are used by patients to monitor and report simple signs such as their pulse rate and blood pressure.
Patients report that they feel more confident in managing their own conditions and the technology also demonstrates a reduction in patient contacts with GP and hospital services.  Over a six month period, the devices reduced phone contact in two GP practices by 83 per cent and face-to-face contact by 57 per cent. Community nursing productivity also improved. Less time was spent on routine monitoring, freeing up nurses to spend more time on other patients with complex needs.
The new champion project will expand the remit of this initial work, and look at how it can be developed, using improved technology, education and support from clinicians. Different packages of support will be developed for a wider range of patients with different healthcare needs. The project will also explore whether an extended model for supported self-care, involving patients with differing health conditions, might be feasible across the whole city.
An advisory group has been established with membership from key local stakeholders such as the University of Bristol (SPHERE project) Bristol City Council, Care and Repair, West of England AHSN and voluntary sector partners. The champion project will generate information and learning which can be shared with the Group and across the local health community.
Dr Elizabeth Dymond, Deputy Director of Enterprise and Translation said: “We’re delighted to support this project as it reflects our members’ interests in the growing field of telehealth supported care. We look forward to receiving the first outcomes from the project in due course.”
“We think the project will give us greater insight into whether an extended model for telehealth supported care could be rolled out across our city.”
Julia Clarke, Chief Executive of Bristol Community Health said: “We’re excited to be working in partnership on this innovative new project, which reflects our growing interest in technology within healthcare. Our community matron Hannah Eklind has recently been on a fact finding mission to Liverpool community health providers where Philips has extensive experience in this area. We think the project will give us greater insight into whether an extended model for telehealth supported care could be rolled out across our city, empowering patients to take control of their own health and reducing unnecessary visits to GPs and hospital.”
Malcolm Hart from Philips said: “This forward thinking initiative aims to support and empower patients in Bristol to manage their own health more effectively. Building on evidence and experience from projects in the UK and the US, we will help to improve health outcomes and make better use of scarce healthcare resources. We’re thrilled to be playing an integral part in supporting this project.”