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Hosting our latest ‘HSJ round table’: Can empowering patients help the NHS recover from Covid 19?

We recently joined forces with the industry-leading Health Service Journal (HSJ) to hold another ‘round table’ of experts, this time discussing the importance of patient engagement in supporting the work of the NHS.

As a leader in developing new ways for patients to engage with and manage their own health, we were delighted to work with the HSJ in hosting an online ‘round table’ in July.

The event brought together experts from across regional and national health and care to consider what we can do to empower patients, really understand what empowerment means, and understand how much patients can adapt and become more self-reliant.

How better patient engagement can support the NHS

The NHS faces a massive challenge in recovering from the Covid 19 pandemic, including a backlog of patients needing elective care, exhausted staff and increasing demand for emergency care and GP appointments. The hope is that empowering more patients to manage their own health and avoid unnecessary demand on clinician time will help the NHS meet these challenges.

Ed Will, Director of Brand, Sciensus, said: “We wanted to join the HSJ in driving this conversation as we’re essentially a knowledge business, focused on supporting, coaching and empowering people to look after their own health.

“We’re using technology to help transform our business through a new easy-to-use patient app that allows us to develop peer-to-peer partnerships with patients, who are, of course, experts in their own lives, environments and health care.”

‘The NHS can’t fix everything’

The panellists agreed that patients need more than just education at the point of diagnosis. Imelda Redmond, Director of Healthwatch England, said: “What people want is high quality information, written simply but [explaining how] they can access the detail behind it if they want to.”

Clare Jacklin, Chief Executive of the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society, added: “Patient education does not happen just once and it is done; it is ongoing. We have to be cleverer in using all the multi-disciplinary team. It may be the physio is the best person for their needs, but they don’t know when it is appropriate to go to a physio, a pharmacist or a specialist nurse.”

Richard Blyth, Chief Customer Officer, Sciensus, who took part in the round table, said: “There was a lively debate, in which we agreed that the NHS can’t fix everything. Patients need to do more for themselves and there are organisations out there that are desperate to help them do that.

“It’s also an area that Sciensus is focusing on, particularly in cancer treatment. Our aim is to deliver care for people at home and reduce their risk of admission, and the number of patients using our cancer service doubled during the pandemic.

“Everything we do is aimed at supporting people to manage their own health, whether they’re receiving treatment for an acute problem or a long-term condition. Empowering people not only benefits their own health and wellbeing; it also helps temper demand on the health services, meaning everyone can get help when they really need it.”

Click here to read the full report from the event.

The round table panel included:

  • Sharon Brennan, HSJ senior correspondent – chair
  • Malti Varshney, director of personalised care in NHS England/Improvement
  • Mike Trenell, CSO and co-founder, Changing Health
  • Anusha Patel, regional homecare lead East Midlands and member of the national homecare medicines committee
  • Imelda Redmond, national director, Healthwatch
  • Richard Blyth, chief customer officer Sciensus – formerly Healthcare at Home
  • Clare Jacklin, chief executive, National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society
  • Helen Gilburt, fellow in health policy, the King’s Fund