What is a Health Plan -you may ask? Well, a Health Plan is a very useful tool that contains everything from basic patient information, to treatment plans, care giver information and health goals; it helps patients living with long-term conditions (LTCs) to manage their care.
The next obvious question is- why do we bother making a Health Plan? There are plenty of reasons that make the development of a Health Plan a worthy project to undertake! Just imagine- there isn’t yet a web-based Health Plan, we’re still printing and snail-mailing Health Plans in this country- a web based Health Plan is sure to enhance service provider-patient communication. Snail-mail aside though, there are around 15 million people living with LTCs in the UK. These 15 million people are the most intensive users of the most expensive services; 8/10 of the primary care consultations and 2/3 of A&E admissions. A sizeable portion of the healthcare service use in this case is –unscheduled, therefore avoidable- for LTC exacerbations.
How can we avoid unnecessary hospital visits and lessen the opportunity cost of these visits for the NHS? Two words: self-care. Self-care is any activity that enables people to maintain or improve their health, but self-care also encompasses activities that help patients to deal with the impact that LTCs have on their daily lives. While we can’t do self-care to patients, we can provide them with the right tools to feel empowered, motivated and supported to self-care- this exactly why How are you? is designing a Health Planning tool.
But there’re already many Health Planning tools out there, how will How are you?’s tool be any better? For starters, it’s going to be web-based -that’s huge. It’s also going to be fully integrated with How are you?’s patient platform –this means that patients, service providers and care-givers will have access to the Patient Record, the Health App Store and the Health Planning tool: a self-care super centre! But, our Health Plan won’t only be great just because of its interactive web-based nature. The way we’re designing this tool will also make it stand out from the rest.
What’s so special about our design? It’s evidence based and, at its core, patient friendly. Our Health Planning tool is being built around LTC care model characteristics that have been proven effective. However, we’re not approaching the design as service providers only- we always ask ourselves, if I were using this Health Plan, what would I like? To achieve our design goals, we’re collaborating with NHS trusts and other organisations around the country to assess the Health Plans that are currently in use. Our Health Plan will also be brought to a stakeholder panel to ensure everyone’s views are taken into account. A prototype will be ready to pilot after the stakeholder panel and we hope to adjust our Health Plan according to the results of the pilot.
Designing a Health Plan that can give a well-rounded account of the person -not only as a patient but also as an individual- will prove immensely helpful to both, service providers and patients.