Rheumatology Connect App Update

Putting knowledge in patients’ hands to:

  • Educate patients about their condition
  • Promote self-care for rheumatology conditions
  • Reduce the length of phone calls and appointments
  • Make the rheumatology team and their knowledge more accessible for patients

Overview

Rheumatology Connect is an app that supports patients with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, gout and more.

Dr Kirsten Mackay and the Rheumatology Department at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust co-desigend the app with Health & Care Videos.

The original app launched in June 2018. Now, after receiving user feedback from patients in Torbay, we have updated the app to include more functionality including push notifications, a survey and a video library. It also has more information on different conditions, medications and FAQs.

Impact

804 Total downloads for Rheumatology Connect Phase 1

1061 Users visited the ‘Contact Us’ page in the first year.

“The contact details are extremely useful. I have used this part when I’ve needed to contact the specialist nurses.” Rheumatology patient

Problem

Version one of Rheumatology Connect got a very positive response from both patients and clinical staff. In fact, several other Trusts have expressed interest in their own version of the app.

However, patient feedback suggested that they would benefit from more information on spinal exercises’ and biosimilar medicines.

It was also posed that some more interactivity would help users engage with the app and the department as a whole.

The Rheumatology Team agreed with this, stating that it would be beneficial if they could send general advice and signpost patients to new resources through the app.

Solution: Rheumatology Connect update

We added 11 new videos to the app, which address the issues raised by patients as well as general health advice (e.g. eating right and stopping smoking).

To make it easier for users to find the videos, there is now a ‘Video Library’ within the app, so they’re all in one place.

Building on the existing text-content, the Rheumatology team added more information about the first six months after diagnosis and links to more resources for all users.

Through this update, the Rheumatology Department now have the ability to send push notifications to patients signposting them to supportive and important links that are relevant to their care.

We have also added contact details for more departments (including Healthy Lifestyles, Hand Therapy and Radiology) to make it easier for patients to contact the specialists they need to talk to.

There is also a new survey within the app that will ask patients about their experience using Rheumatology Connect and the rheumatology service. We will use this information to help develop the next version of the app.

Key results

By including the Rheumatology Connect app in their care pathway, the team at Torbay have already seen an increase in patient understanding and a reduced number of appointments.

As we have only just launched the updated version, there are no results from this intervention yet.

Potential positive results include:

  • Patients contacting specialist teams directly
  • Patients actively engaged in their care
  • Increased capacity for rheumatology services
  • Actionable insights into the apps usefulness and relevance for patients

“I find the new app very comprehensive and easy to use. The information is clear and concise and easily accessible. It’s excellent for not only a newly diagnosedpatient but also for patients who have been diagnosed and have been living with their diagnosis and some knowledge of their RA.“ Rheumatology patient

Download the app at www.rheumatologyconnect.info

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