Organisation: South Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network

Contact Person: Brendon Wickham

Contact Email Address: brendon.wickham@semphn.org.au  

Abstract

Enabling chronic and complex medical patients to manage their health and take steps to improve their health is a major challenge for healthcare providers. The United Kingdom’s (UK) NHS Simple Telehealth unit has developed an SMS based system for promoting self-care called ‘Flo’. It uses highly adaptable, clinically valid protocols that doctors can readily use to manage patients, engage with patients and others in the care team. To patients, Flo is a persona they engage with through their mobile device, helping them to take an active role in their health, whilst their care team may also participate and intervene if necessary. Trials in the UK suggest that Flo’s combination of best practice healthcare, advice and patient education is resulting in improved patient engagement, adherence and health literacy. Whilst the system has a large number of protocols covering a wide range of conditions, the scope of this proposal focuses on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and diabetes, as key local priorities. The South Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network will trial this technology in 2017 in general practices with interest in chronic disease management. If successful, it could then expand to care teams in other settings such as allied health, specialists and even hospitals. It is anticipated that the implementation of this technology will reduce variation in clinical care whilst improving patients’ self-management, health literacy and clinical condition.