Asthma statistics remind us why chronic condition reviews are so important

Asthma-Inhalator

Everyone knows someone who has asthma. Over five million people in the country suffer from this condition – that’s 1 in 12 adults and 1 in 11 children.

People’s awareness of the disease might be simply seeing friends or colleagues using an inhaler – nothing serious, right?

But according to Asthma UK, every ten seconds someone in the UK is having a potentially life threatening asthma attack.

On average, three people a day die from one of those asthma attacks.

Asthma can kill.

That’s why NHS England have made annual asthma reviews one of their requirements for GP practices to perform in the Quality and Outcomes Framework.

And with the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring ongoing respiratory conditions are well managed has never been more important: the virus has had a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable patients both due to the effects of the disease and the consequences of services being scaled back.

The refocusing in primary care for this year aims to allow clinicians to identify and prioritise those patients at risk of poor health and those who experience health inequalities.

Tackling unequal access and provision of healthcare means taking proactive measures to contact and assess patients with chronic conditions – and this is why Medloop have developed their patient management optimiser.

Taking asthma as an example, around 200,000 people in the UK have severe asthma; a form of the condition which doesn’t respond to usual treatments and can cause regular trips to hospital.

It’s expensive to the NHS, costing around £1 billion to treat the condition. The latest figures available show 77,124 admissions to hospital for asthma across the UK and sadly, 1,483 people dying from an asthma attack.

That is why keeping on top of chronic condition reviews is so important.

But with services reopening, tackling the huge backlog looks like an insurmountable problem.

To eat an elephant, take one bite at a time.

Using input from clinicians in a variety of roles across primary care, we have designed a solution to help primary care tackle these large workloads effectively, with no downgrading of clinical quality.

We’re about helping GPs deliver excellent patient outcomes, after all.

We have included features unique to our product to help combat health inequalities which simple text message services can exacerbate. Our practices benefit not only from a more streamlined method of contacting patients with chronic conditions: those who don’t respond to text messages get called and if needed, our team helps them fill in their survey. It’s part of our commitment to better patient care because we know millions of people in this country cannot access online services. Does that mean they should miss out on treatment they are entitled to? We don’t think so.

Another one of those small steps towards tackling the backlog mountain is prioritising patients. Based on survey results your clinicians can see which patients require urgent reviews with our simple traffic light notifications. It’s not complicated – a patient with a badly controlled condition like asthma flags up as red in the dashboard. On completion of their survey, those not managing their condition well can book an appointment immediately.

We know our system not only helps the patients and helps clinicians, it allows administrative teams to spend less time managing the all too frequent large telephone queues. It’s one of the biggest complaints by patients – they cannot get through to their practice.

By removing the need for people to call up and book, or enquire about reviews, your phone lines are free for urgent appointment requests.

And by seeing urgent patients more quickly, you can reduce the risk of unplanned attendance at urgent treatment centres and A&E, avoiding traumatic situations for patients and helping to focus funding on other areas like cancer screenings and immunisations.

We’re passionate about delivering more than just a simple text message service. We want to make a difference to patients by putting them at the centre of their own health and allowing clinicians to work at the top of their skill set.

So many businesses have changed their working methods, using technology to become more efficient. Primary Care should be no different.

We’re not just about digitalising legacy working practices, we want to help bring about real change.

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