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Focus On: Clinical Applications

posted 7 May 2019, 03:08 by Hollie O'Connell

Ann Hughes 
Practice Nurse / Telehealth Facilitator 


07 May 2019 


Ann Hughes is a practice nurse working within Northern Staffordshire CCGs.  As part of our “Focus on Evaluation” project, Ann has shared with us her experience of using Flo as a Clinician, but also her Role as a Flo Champion to support spread and adoption of Flo, first locally and now at a national level.

What is your background and role within your organisation?

"I have been a nurse for many years; early in my career I primarily focused on acute care areas, but gradually moved over to primary care some 16 years ago.

For the last few years I have been sharing my time between my patients at the surgery and our Digital Nurse Programme, supporting other clinicians across our organisation to introduce a range of technologies, including Flo.  Having used Flo myself for a number of years I have been able to share both my own and my patient’s experiences with colleagues to promote better management of common long term conditions.  More recently Staffordshire’s Digital Nurse Programme has been commissioned nationally so I have been travelling across England to share my experiences via our Action Learning Events."

What did you set out to achieve with Flo and how did you go about it?

"I set out to offer patients another way of managing their condition; whether that be a simple text reminder so as not to be late with, or miss taking their prescribed medication, or a pathway of simple health advice messages from Flo that help them adhere to their shared management plan around their condition.

Some of my patients require additional support from one of Flo’s interactive message protocols.  For example, a 7-day hypertension diagnosis protocol, or for patients with already diagnosed long term conditions, protocols such as COPD self-management supports them to take their rescue medication more efficiently and improves their confidence to self-manage their condition."

Were there any surprises?

"I was surprised by how much impact a simple text message from Flo can have on patients, supporting them to self-manage their health and improve their long-term outcomes."

How do your patients feel about Flo?

"The majority of my patients like or love Flo, but I think that when you first start out, picking the right patients to promote Flo can be really helpful too.

The only occasional negative comment was that there were too many messages sent on certain protocols, but that could be rectified by editing the protocol alongside the patient to remove the unwanted messages.   It can be difficult to judge, as some patients benefit from the extra support the additional messages could provide, but Flo’s flexibility really helps to tailor protocols to each patient."

What can you do more/less/differently with Flo?

"With Flo I am able to support patients with timely reminders to make often essential regular appointments, whether that is for routine B12 vaccinations, or essential cancer medication for the control of the disease.  Flo helps me to support patients to take their medications as prescribed or attend appointments to achieve better control and outcomes.

Reminding patients to make and attend appointments has helped to free up capacity by reducing missed appointments, and she also helps me to make quicker, more informed decisions when it comes to diagnosing and treating patients.  For example, I can quickly diagnose patients with hypertension using a 7-day protocol with Flo, compared to the standard practice which would mean the patient making several visits to the surgery amongst other things. "

What are your future plans with Flo?

"I will of course be continuing to support the spread of Flo in my role as Telehealth Facilitator across the Staffordshire area to support local adoption, but I’m really excited to be able to share my experiences more widely via our Action Learning Events which will be taking place all over the country this year. "