During the current outbreak of COVID-19, adherence to official guidance is a primary determinant of the effectiveness of any precautionary steps that members of the public take.
There is currently a wealth of advice shared from various sources, including the NHS and Government around self-isolation, social distancing and other preventative measures. It is imperative that members of the public adhere to this advice to reduce the likelihood of further transmission of the COVID-19 virus.
However, people may be overwhelmed with the deluge of official information and updates, and confused by misinformation spread via word of mouth and social media. This is a particular problem for vulnerable groups and serves to exacerbate anxiety.
While concerns about COVID-19 are raised globally, for at risk groups (e.g. the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions such as respiratory or heart diseases), the outbreak is even more concerning as the consequences of contracting the virus are more severe.
Within our ‘business as usual’ model we are working collaboratively with our NHS Community of Practice Members to develop instantly deployable COVID-19 specific pathways for Florence with techniques drawn from the broad independent evidence-base already underpinning Flo.
For those unfamiliar with Flo, she is a sophisticated digital platform used to deliver personalised, targeted behavioural psychology-based Smart Messaging, interacting with patients as the friendly non-judgemental persona, Flo, through SMS texts.
The NHS owned “Simple Telehealth” methodology on which Flo is based, has challenged clinical thinking about the role and effectiveness of messaging in healthcare, delivering better and faster clinical outcomes by improving patients’ motivation, engagement and adherence to their best practice healthcare regime.
Flo is a flexible and adaptable system which can be used to reassure self-isolating members of the public by disseminating practical and supportive advice and guidance via SMS during these unprecedented times. Furthermore, Flo’s gentle prompts are also designed to encourage subtle behaviour change over time. This is particularly crucial for those self-isolating or social-distancing to ensure guidelines are followed to reduce the likelihood of contracting or further spreading COVID-19, whilst discouraging inappropriate use of limited NHS resources but giving people the confidence to contact their healthcare provider if, and when necessary.
At the time of writing, Simple Shared Healthcare are collaborating with NHS organisations on a pathway to help monitor the symptoms of patients self-isolating at home. The collaboration has created a bank of advice messages based on official NHS and Government guidance that could be integrated into pathways with Flo, covering all manner of topics from hygiene, loneliness and isolation to advice for parents. In addition, we are in the process of developing a pathway to support the triage of outpatients appointments, whereby a video or telephone consultation is arranged in lieu of face-to-face appointments.
If you would like to discuss how Flo could potentially support patients during this testing time, please contact us via our website and a member of the team will get back to you. please contact us via our website and a member of the team will get back to you.
Note 1: In the NHS and not already using Flo? Contact us via the weblink above.
Note 2: Some organisations link Flo’s data directly into national monitoring and clinical systems via her GDPR compliant APIs.