NHS patients to have the last word on the success of their treatments

Andrew Lansely and patient Abbie Collardt

Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, and leading figures from health charities today launched the UK's first online health tracker that lets patients track their recovery live and provides essential data to help shape clinical decisions in the NHS

12 May 2011: Health secretary, Andrew Lansley, showed his support for the latest touch-screen technology, putting patients at the centre of care, by attending and delivering a speech at the launch of this innovation in mobile health.

HealthUnlocked Tracker is being trialled at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital (RNOH). The on-going pilot will measure the effectiveness of spinal surgery over a prolonged period, gathering essential data in an efficient and user-friendly way.

HealthUnlocked Tracker, the UK’s first online patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) system, lets patients record their progress in real time in-clinic using an iPad. The patients use the same system at home to track their progress over the internet.

Benefits of HealthUnlocked Tracker include:

  • Doctors and nurses access the live system instantly to assess a patient’s progress
  • Surgeons track the value of the operations they carry out
  • Hospitals and commissioners can quantify the benefits of different types of operations
  • An estimated 300 new outpatient appointment slots per consultant surgeon per year could be created in the RNOH
  • 95% of patients prefer the new online process to the traditional pen and paper method.
  • Traditional methods of reporting on PROMs have rarely been accessible in a clinic - this system allows best use to be made of the information.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: "This is a great example of how healthcare innovation can make a real difference to patients' lives.

“We want to modernise the NHS because we believe that patients deserve the best and most innovative treatments available. We are committed to creating an environment in the NHS where new medical technologies like this can flourish.”

Mr Matthew Shaw, Consultant Spinal Surgeon at the RNOH and the lead surgeon in the trial, explained: “Having accurate information at my fingertips about my patients’ recovery is ground-breaking. It ensures that I can quickly get to grips with their perspective and provide them with first-rate healthcare. As well as saving me time it will also create new insights about spinal surgery for the NHS as a whole.”

Using these online instruments for reference RNOH consultants also plan to integrate them into follow-up. Matthew Shaw said: “Some patients with very rapid recoveries require less intensive follow-up than those with slower or more problematic recoveries. This gives me more flexibility to assess this in advance, and better tailor my time to my patients’ needs.”

Dr Matt Jameson Evans, co-founder of HealthUnlocked said: “All my experience as a surgeon in the NHS made me want to shake up the system and put patients at the heart of it and that’s what this online tracking does.  We've started with spinal patients but the potential is huge as the new tracking works with all types of disease.  Our goal is that 50% of all UK patients with chronic disease have access to the new online health tracker and manage their progress online by 2016. 



Photo:Fergus Burnett

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