Unify Blog
An Apple a day keeps the doctor away

Demographic and financial demands mean the NHS has to change, and the way forward to improve care and save money is involving patients in their care. But by putting care in the hands of the patient, can you de-stress the patient and reduce readmission?

Healthcare can be done ‘to’ us or ‘with’ us. The goal is to change from ‘what’s the matter?’ to ‘what matters to you?’

“Empowered patients aren’t a nice to have, they are fundamental to the survival of the NHS” – Luke O’Shea, NHS England.

  • 50%  of inpatients are not involved in their care as much as they would like – a figure that has not changed for 10 years.

  • 93% of patients are confident they can manage their health.

The upside of patient empowerment?

  • Better patient experience.

  • Better treatment and care.

  • Better concordance.

  • Less dependence on services.

  • Better outcomes.

  • Lower costs.

  • Less time in hospital.

A study of involuntary mental health inpatients suggests that, if coercive treatment to aid rather than disrupt recovery, services need to focus on rights and finding ways to foster a strong sense of agency and empowerment.

Areas for attention. What will benefit from patient empowerment?

  • Long-term conditions.

  • Ageing and end of life care.

  • Healthier lifestyles.

  • Care co-ordination in multiple complex conditions.

Barriers to empowerment for:


  • Ill health “profoundly disempowering

  • Experts “know best”

  • Wish to trust practitioners

  • Acceptance


Patient decision aids allow people to balance risks against preferences, improve shared decision making and reduce procedures with no adverse effect.

Technology can help

IT services may especially contribute to empowerment by providing knowledge to cancer survivors.

Social media has been found to minimise length of hospital stay, reduce complications and improve patient satisfaction in paediatric diabetes care.

How? Integrated technologies helped the unit identify trends and tailor individual responses as well as supporting collaborative efforts to manage patients’ diabetes effectively.

81% of patients felt they had benefited from the technology.

The new normal

Taking over tasks previously carried out by providers is not new; online check-in is usual. Giving people more responsibility for their health may not be as difficult as some may expect.

Power to the patient

Student Joe Smith consults his GP, Dr Amy Black, over symptoms. Dr Black suggests several diagnostic methods. Using a patient decision aid, he opts for a test that may be less accurate but less invasive.

He receives his result on his smartphone, then returns to Dr Black. Again, they employ the patient decision aid to choose treatment.

Smith chooses a hospital near his family rather than his hall of residence. The appointment is booked at the GP surgery.

He is admitted to hospital; it’s rather unfamiliar. He uses his bedside terminal to find information on his condition and hospital routines, remind himself about recovery times and talk to his family about visiting. Feeling more in control, he chooses a meal then finds some music to listen to without disturbing others.

Back home, he rearranges a follow-up appointment and accesses online support from patient peers to help manage by himself and to remind himself of symptoms. Checking his record, he finds an inaccuracy about his hospital stay, and amends his record so everyone involved in his health is informed.


  • If patients take more responsibility for their healthcare, they will enjoy better wellbeing and depend less on services, saving the NHS money.

  • Most patients are confident they can manage their health and want to have some control.

  • The rise of multiple long-term conditions mean patients will need to be more involved in their care and its coordination.

  • Technology such as bedside tablets in hospital can help patients become involved in their health and improve their experience.

  • Patient involvement can improve the doctor-patient relationship.


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Posted in Unified Communications

Or.. if your organisation is seasonal: ‘in 95 sleeps your nightmare will be over’

OK, so I have mentioned the ‘C’ Bomb.. Christmas. Love it or hate it – it is on its way.

I have friends and family that have already started their Christmas shopping as they like to spread the costs and not put themselves under financial burden in December.  These are clearly not in the majority of gift purchasers – who will take to the shopping centres and internet shopping sites in their gazillions (exaggeration??) in  December. Personally, my game plan for my favourite  holiday is to save a little all year and spend it all in few weeks running up to the big day.  Compared to the all year shoppers, I don’t have to store a plethora of presents – and try and remember what I have bought –and for who.

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Posted in Unified Communications

I’d had enough, my email inbox was bursting with over 5000 emails – it had slowly gotten out of control and missing an important request hidden in the mass of spam, offers and not to be missed social updates was the last straw!  Something had to be done.

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Posted in Unified Communications

Taking on more patients and providing more services could, paradoxically, reduce GPs’ workloads

GPs are under so much pressure they fear they are failing patients and are potentially providing unsafe care, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the British Medical Association’s General Practice Committee, warned in February this year.

Some 90% of all NHS contacts occur in primary care. Demand on general practice is set to increase as more care is transferred from hospital to community. Clinical commissioning groups want to minimise expensive hospital attendance.

GPs are dealing with a population that is ageing, has more long-term conditions and expects more. Workforce and budget pressures mean “more of the same” cannot be delivered, so new, sustainable ways of working are needed.

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Posted in New Way To Work

I am not talking company… but ‘where’.  What physical space do you occupy each day when you are being productive?

As a knowledge worker, to do your job effectively all you need is a laptop, wifi, and you. That’s it. So where would you work to be productive? Is it a calm environment or a bustling coffee shop? An office filled with people or a quiet home office without disruption?  

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Posted in Unified Communications

This past October, the General Services Administration issued its final request for proposals for the $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) telecommunications contract vehicle. EIS, which is due to replace the Networx contract vehicle, renews attention on network transformation efforts that evolve agencies from legacy circuit-switched TDM networks to next generation IP telephony and unified communications services.

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Posted in Developers, Technology, Unified Communications