A Home Mobile Health Monitoring (HMHM) initiative in Tayside has won praise from the Scottish Government.
The programme, led by Angus Health & Social Care Partnership, gives people the opportunity to take their own health readings for a variety of different health conditions, such as high blood pressure, chronic pain and fatigue as well as those seeking support with weight management.
This HMHM work uses ‘Florence’ (Flo) which is a simple text messaging system. Flo sends text messages to peoples’ mobile phones reminding them to take their blood pressure reading or weigh themselves and then text back the results. The system receives the texts and people may then receive further advice and instructions if necessary. The texts are free to the people using Flo.
At a recent event to accelerate the use of HMHM across Tayside, delegates also learned about other HMHM systems including Tayside’s award-winning My Diabetes My Way and soon-to-be-launched HealthCall service.
NHS Tayside’s Director of Public Health Dr Drew Walker said, “Remote monitoring already makes a valuable contribution to the delivery of health and social care and empowers people in Tayside to manage their own health.
“Remote monitoring is just one of a range of digital approaches which can improve health and there is now a real need to push that much harder and further so that its full potential to improve health and reduce health inequalities can be realised.”
An evaluation report commissioned by the Scottish Government, which focuses on the use of Flo in Tayside, highlights that 448 people have been supported to monitor their health conditions at home, improving their care and preventing hospital admissions. Flo currently supports 68 people from one GP surgery and this is estimated to save 272 face-to-face appointments every year.
It is believed that information gathered at home through Flo also added value when people met their clinicians face-to-face. People using Flo said ‘It’s really simple, everyone should be doing it.’
Chief Officer for Angus HSCP Vicky Irons said, “Our team started something completely new back in 2017, and they have been gathering solid evidence ever since. We know this works – the challenge now is to turn this test of change into business as usual. That will take time, but we are getting strong support from the Scottish Government to make this new technique much more widely available.”
Angus HSCP was awarded £139,000 by the Scottish Government Technology Enabled Care (TEC) Programme to manage the Scale-Up Blood Pressure (BP) Programme in Tayside. This is part of a national project which aims to increase the number of people using Flo to manage their blood pressure.