Virtual Clinic image“Virtual Clinic allows the clinician to communicate via the app with the patient and give feedback.”

A collaboration between Birmingham Children’s Hospital and Coventry-based software company Imobisoft has resulted in the development and launch of a ground breaking Virtual Clinic app.

The app enables patients to securely communicate information about their condition directly to a clinician while simultaneously updating the Trust’s electronic patient record system.

Virtual Clinic enables patients to manage their health more effectively by communicating information about their condition on a daily basis, reducing the need to attend a clinic unless it’s absolutely necessary, saving valuable time and money and freeing up much needed capacity.

Currently, patients with long term conditions or requiring post-operative care regularly attend outpatient clinics. The majority of these appointments require no clinical intervention and may require several hours’ travel for what might be a very brief questionnaire-based session with a clinician.

If a patient’s condition changes between routine appointments, the app automatically alerts the clinician who can respond immediately and effectively, having been provided with details about the change. An intervention can be made earlier, potentially decreasing the risk of morbidity or the need for more complex interventions or hospital admission.

Providing patients with immediate feedback on how their lifestyle or treatment impacts on their symptoms provides immediate personalised education to help them manage their condition.

Virtual Clinic is a free app. Users download it onto their phone and enter their unique code to create their profile. Symptoms are recorded via slider bars and radio buttons and sent in real time to the server. Clinicians view the data received, either via an alert when abnormal data is received or by logging onto the web interface to see all data for a particular patient over a period of time. Clinicians can send a message via the web interface to the patient’s phone and run reports on patients, symptoms, etc. from the database.

The functionality of the app can be applied to the majority of long term conditions managed by regular Outpatient appointments. Currently, Virtual Clinic is being used for patients at Birmingham Children’s Hospital with anorectic malformations and chronic constipation.

The app was originally conceived by Mr Ingo Jester, Consultant Paediatric Surgeon at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. “Virtual Clinic allows the clinician to communicate via the app with the patient and give feedback. It also allows the clinician to tailor the treatment of the patients more precisely based on their daily symptom recording and therefore adjust their follow-up in clinic according their clinical needs. By allowing the clinician to monitor a patient’s condition in real time, the Virtual Clinic app has huge potential to improve patient care. I believe it will reduce the number of unnecessary Outpatient appointments, deliver significant cost savings, free up capacity and inform future advances in practice.”

For more information about the app and how it might be developed for other clinics and Outpatient departments, please contact Guy Smallman, Commercial Director at Imobisoft at guy.smallman@imobisoft.co.uk

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