Reassuring patients they are not alone and providing resources for them to better manage their conditions are among the aims of the Western Sydney roll-out of a digital platform designed to help the chronically ill.
WentWest and Western Sydney Local Health District have signed up the patient education tool GoShare to provide multimedia guidance for people living with chronic disease, with the view to improving health outcomes, preventing complications and reducing avoidable hospitalisations.
Following a successful 12-month pilot with WentWest, this new agreement will allow all healthcare professionals across the continuum of care in the region to use GoShare with patients, including those requiring cardiac rehab.
“By providing access to the stories of positive role models, who convey how they managed their chronic condition and overcame challenges, we can have a positive impact on self-care attitudes and behaviours,” said Dr Tina Campbell, Managing Director of Healthily, which produces GoShare.
“Narrative communication in healthcare also provides comfort that a patient is not alone, and enables the sharing of ‘patient knowledge’. Patients become experts in their health – patient stories are a way to convey this knowledge.”
Through GoShare, healthcare professionals are able to send information and resources relevant to a patient’s condition. The evidence-based content can be tailored to their needs and sent in formats such as video, animation, text and apps to accommodate a range of health literacy levels and learning styles.
“For some people, video-based patient stories will be a more effective way to communicate than brochures or text-based information. Personal stories address patient's natural barriers to health information – you can’t disagree with someone’s lived experience,” Campbell told Healthcare IT News Australia.
With a library of 800 videos across more than 100 health topics, and thousands of information sheets and resources developed in partnership with peak bodies and experts, GoShare is used as a supplement to face-to-face or telehealth consultations.
Chronic disease is on the rise in Australia, with healthcare services seeking ways to minimise the burden of an aging population. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 39 per cent of potentially preventable hospitalisations in 2013/14 were due to eight major chronic disease groups: arthritis, asthma, back pain, cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes and mental health conditions. More than 11 million Australians also reported suffering from at least one of the conditions, which accounted for around one in three problems managed in general practice.
As part of the GoShare program, primary, secondary and tertiary care professionals in the region will be supported by online training, webinars, ‘bootcamp’ videos and a help line to help them make the most of the platform’s features.
“Health professionals report that it is helpful being able to see if a patient has engaged with the content. GoShare provides the practitioner with the ability to quickly and easily measure patient engagement including open rates and views of content by a patient.”
Patients, their families and carers can all play a role in managing conditions through monitoring health indicators, regulating lifestyle factors, and dealing with emotional stresses, and the sharing of GoShare’s resources can inform better care.
“Sharing this information empowers their family, friends or carers to take a more informed and active role in their loved one’s care,” Campbell said.