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Focus on: Technology Enabled Care Lead

posted 22 Mar 2019, 05:07 by Hollie O'Connell


Shona Burge 
Home and Mobile Health Monitoring Project Manager 


22 March 2019 



Shona Burge is the Home and Mobile Health Monitoring Project Manager at Angus Health & Social Care Partnership.  Shona has kindly taken some time to share her experiences of working with Flo from a Lead perspective with us for our new “Focus on Evaluation Project”.

What is your background and role within your organisation?

“Having spent 10 years in the voluntary sector while completing my degree, I moved to NHS Tayside in 2009.   My first post was within the Health Improvement Team working on a community led health project to support the nutrition of the under fives.  In 2016 my role changed, and as an employee of NHS Tayside I began to work for Angus Health & Social Care Partnership (HSCP) as the Home & Mobile Health Monitoring Manager.  My role within that post has largely been to introduce Florence to various services across Tayside, and also involves some work in the spread of Attend Anywhere and Video Conferencing.”

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

“We set out to meet our recruitment target of 350 patients recruited to Flo by the end of our 2 year TEC funded period, and managed to just surpass that.  You can find out how we did that in my other blog; Five steps to Florence"

Were there any surprises?

“I think the only surprise was some of the reluctance coming from some clinicians to adopt a new technology.  Not having a clinical background, I was surprised at how important it was for clinicians to be able to access patient data in the systems they were already used to.  Having worked with many different services now, I can see how busy their jobs are and can understand the need to know exactly which button to click when, so I try to make it as easy as possible for Flo to fit in and help out! 

It was also surprising to see how quickly patients personalise Flo by thinking of her as a person (referring to Flo by saying ‘she says’ or ‘her texts’), but at the same time value the anonymity that she gives them.  For example, one of our weight management patients said, She’s that friend you’ll tell your weight to’.”

How does Flo fit with your organisational vision/current strategies?

"The three Health and Social Care Partnerships in Tayside, Angus, Dundee and Perth & Kinross have made a strategic commitment to Technology Enabled Care (TEC) within their respective Strategic Commissioning Plans.  Each are using TEC to act as a catalyst to the transformation of health and care services with the aim that technology becomes integrated as ‘business as usual’, thereby allowing more delivery of services at home and in community settings. 

In April 2018 NHS Tayside published their ambitious Integrated Clinical Strategy which makes a commitment to invest resources in our infrastructure, in eHealth, in technology and information systems that optimise our capacity and delivery of care.  Providing technology that enables community-based support, independent living and health monitoring solutions is identified as one of the factors critical to success.”

What do you consider your biggest success with Flo?

“Our biggest success would be preventing hospital admission for 4 of our Heart Failure patients.

Our Heart Failure Liaison Nurse using Flo reported that 4 patients had contacted the clinic before there was an exacerbation of their condition and that without Flo the patients would likely have remained at home until their condition warranted re-admission.

Each hospital readmission for this condition commonly averages out at a 4 day stay at a cost of £700/ day (based on 2015 costings).   This means that at least £28,000 was saved by Flo in that service alone – not to mention the patient benefit in staying well and not having to be readmitted to hospital.  This is something we’d certainly like to replicate.”

How do you engage your clinicians and wider organisation with Flo?

“We now find that Flo finds us; through word of mouth.  We do have enthusiastic advocates across Tayside who promote Flo, and as the Flo co-ordinator I go out to services to provide Flo demos and chat about the potential of Flo for service users and services alike.  We also have a Flo Newsletter that goes out approximately three times per year and this always generates a wave of interest from potential Flo users.”

What are the future plans with Flo?

“We would like to build on the areas that demonstrated most patient benefit while having a time/cost saving, for example areas like Heart Failure - and we hope we can engage GPs in this.  We are keen too however, to gain the same benefits for BP monitoring as some of our counterparts in other areas and have bid into the Scottish Government National Scale-Up BP Programme.  If successful in this, we will certainly be kept busy over the next few months and we think this could really change the tide in terms of how clinicians and patients alike perceive the role of technology in their own health care and enabling, and empowering people to take more control of their own health and well being.”