Maintaining regular communication with patients has been an incredible challenge lately, especially at the height of the COVID-19 crisis. The NHS while pushed to its limit, has done its best to care for the nation and shield the most vulnerable. With every department feeling the pinch, we spoke to Karen Bridgeman, a Digital Midwife from University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay.
Keeping in touch with maternity patients, in particular, has been difficult, as this service ultimately had to transition from normalcy to being a more digital service. As the pandemic progressed, their department quickly became inundated with requests for information about how the current service was likely to change. For MBHT, having its own app to communicate with its audience made all the difference. They were able to send out alerts via push notifications to their patients, their families and carers, preparing their audience for the coming changes.
Adjusting a more digital service, MBHT became more active on social media, seeking to better engage and reassure their patients as much as possible. Having previously relied on sharing information via leaflets and other paper resources, MBHT found that their app was the perfect digital platform to host all of their information and keep their audience in the loop. Previously, the paper resources were produced by an external publisher, meaning that there were often edits and changes to the information and wording. MBHT’s new digital communication strategy has allowed them to save time and money, as they are now less reliant on its leaflets.
Its app has also been useful to track its patient’s engagement with its services, from its backend console; they can easily see which parts of their app are most used and are able to tailor their output to make it as relevant and as useful as possible, easily adjusting to the changing needs of its patients. The stats are also helpful for providing evidence of its services being engaged with. As a result, app use has grown each month, with the largest increase being at the height of the COVID-19 crisis.
Overall, MBHT has transitioned into offering a more digital service to its patients, their families and carers. With less face to face conversations and more reliance on video conferencing, digital communication and social media - its app has been instrumental in facilitating this change and allowing MBHT to continually support and reassure its community.
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