Context VitruCare is a digital health service being jointly developed by Sue Ryder and Dynamic Health Systems. It is accessible through a variety of devices including computers, tablets and smart phones and enables patients with life-limiting conditions to record decisions about their care, plan for the future and communicate their current health status to their extended care team.
Aim Focus groups across six sites supported by Sue Ryder Hospices identified how the service could improve patient journeys.
Approach VitruCare puts the patient at the centre of their care, using a library of ‘Micro Apps’ including ‘Introducing me’, ‘How do I feel today’ and ‘Planning ahead’ to enable patients to record their health choices and communicate with their extended care team through video and instant messaging.
Outcomes Patients piloting the service said:
“Some things I’ve written on VitruCare I’ve never told anyone, because nobody asks. Doctors don’t realise how draining it is to keep repeating my story. I feel tired easily.”
“I think the more information doctors, and nurses know about me can only be a good thing. It saves repeating myself, giving me more energy for things I want to do.”
“Having the opportunity to document how I feel reduces stress, I don’t have to remember everything.”
Conclusion Whilst health professionals acknowledged the patient benefits, there will be a need to develop technology skills within the workforce and an evolution of culture in order to fully embrace this innovative way of working.
Application to hospice practice Once the pilot is complete (June 2015), licences for use of VitruCare will be available for healthcare providers to improve their end of life patient care. The hospice movement will be crucial in communicating the benefits of technology enabled person centred care to colleagues outside of the specialism.
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