Hannah is the Clinical Engagement Lead at PKB, she started her career as a Healthcare Assistant before completing her nurse training in Brighton. After qualifying she specialised in Gynaecology/Oncology, before moving to New Zealand where she worked as a Community Care Coordinator preventing patients from hospitalisation. It was within this role that she got frustrated with the lack of shared information and use of paper care plans.
Hannah has been with PKB since 2015 where she has brought a wealth of her clinical background experience and knowledge to the company.
Hannah writes about her path to PKB and why she is so passionate to help specialty teams move towards a digital healthcare system with their patients at the heart of it.
The PKB Mission
Everyone has the potential to be a patient one day. Disease and illness can hit at any time. You might already have a family member or friend using the NHS who are frustrated by the lack of information they are receiving. Patients Know Best’s (PKB) mission is to give every person the tools to self manage their health with the use of care plans, secure instant messaging and access to their data.
I’m a passionate nurse by background and project manager who started in healthcare at the age of 17. It was an honour and privilege to look after people when they were going through possibly the worst time of their life. I learnt very quickly how people can become vulnerable and exposed when they are sick and institutionalised. I believe patients need encouragement and knowledge to aid their recovery or come to terms with a diagnosis. Clinical teams equally need the data and pathways to support patients to live a full life.
When I was lucky enough to hear about PKB in 2014, I jumped at the chance to join the then small but impactful team. I felt joining the company gave me the biggest opportunity to make the largest difference to patient care. Finally being able to give patients access to their data and digital care plans, with support and escalation plans to follow when needed.
Clinical Engagement Lead
My role as Clinical Engagement Lead in PKB is to highlight the importance of having a designated clinical lead in a healthcare organisation to drive forward the digital health agenda for clinician and patient and making sure the benefits of PKB are realised. Deploying a system like PKB isn’t just about making sure the patient has access to it but making it completely embedded into the working pathways of each team so that the patient has all their data and care in one place to share with everyone involved. The Clinical lead can really drive this forward by helping patients get the best out of PKB and thus improving the way care is delivered.
The reality of care
Data is rarely in the patient’s hands! They mostly take medications, but don’t really know why; they may have a diagnosis that they don’t understand whilst living with long term conditions and comorbidities; sometimes they have very little information or ongoing support from their health care providers. Clinicians looking after a patient across different organisations often can’t get the information they need to look after the person holistically and effectively. Not one system has all the information and it’s virtually impossible for the patient to access the healthcare data they need.
Very often, patients are given life changing information in short appointment slots, then sent home with little recollection of the conversation. People often don’t have the ability to retain information from these stressful appointments and may not always have a support person with them to retain the information for them.
Patients Know Best’s mission is to fix this
Within a few weeks of joining PKB I could see how the software could make a really big impact on how patients were treated and cared for. Giving them a personal health record had the potential to change their lives and their relationship with their illness. Since those early days, PKB has obviously changed a lot. We have focused on creating patients a record, getting the data into the record and finally inviting patients, en masse to register. In 2021 our focus moved to clinical engagement, embedding PKB in Trusts and working with the clinicians to use PKB with their patients.
Clinician engagement happens when clinicians create and share personalised care plans, the library has useful links and resources and the PKB secure team messaging functionality is used instead of traditional contact methods, these small changes maximise the value of the data patients receive and supports the self management of their condition.
I always tell clinicians, all the information you normally verbally give to your patients in the clinic appointment should also be given to a patient digitally. This is so the patient can digest the information and then be given the opportunity afterwards to ask questions. PKB enables this digitised workflow through the use of editable care plans and secure messaging functionality.
The role of care planning
Care planning is a large part of healthcare, normally on paper by a patient’s bedside, or in the community. These Care Plans are rarely shared with patients, other healthcare providers, the patient’s GP or next of kin. There have been many attempts and intentions to digitise this process, but the reality is it’s extremely difficult to achieve.
With care planning being at the heart of patient-centered care we created a Care Plan Toolkit to demonstrate PKB’s comprehensive and patient-centered care planning functionality which captures structured and meaningful conversations around a person’s care. The toolkit contains care plans already created by PKB and used by teams. Each care plan template included has a workflow to show how it is being used in practice.
When a clinician gives a patient a diagnosis, putting a personalised care plan together, with information, symptoms to track, measurements to monitor and videos to help explain all this, can make all the difference for someone understanding what’s happening to their body. Therefore not having to call the out of hours GP or go to A&E. This is further supported by a patient having the tools to contact their specialist when advised to after reading their personalised care plan and escalation plan.
Involve patients in their care
When I worked on the wards, before the consultant rounds, I would get my patients to write down their questions, including ‘what are my options?’ I don’t have the privilege to work on the wards giving direct nursing care anymore, however, I’ve got the bigger task to support clinicians all over healthcare to give patients a space to ask their questions.
In PKB there is a feature called Consultations, where a team can send a patient a clinical questionnaire or survey when delivering ongoing care. Before a patient has an appointment, sending them a Consultation asking how they’ve been since their last appointment and what questions they have, can really change how a person deals with their health and how empowered they feel.
The Clinical Transformation toolkit
At PKB we understand that clinical and digital transformation can take time and focus, this is why we recommend every Trust has one person focusing on the clinical engagement tasks involved with rolling out PKB. To support the clinical engagement lead, project managers and specialty teams, PKB have created a Clinical Transformation Toolkit which guides the digital transformation teams when moving towards interacting with their patients through PKB.
As I can’t be at every clinical meeting anymore, this toolkit takes the clinical engagement lead through the key steps, from setting SMART goals of what the team want to achieve from a new patient-centered clinical system, to making sure it is completely embedded into the workflows and improves the patient and clinical pathways.
A patient having the confidence to ask questions, I believe, can make the biggest difference to a patient’s recovery rather than not feeling involved with the decisions made about their body. After all, a patient has a vested interest in their recovery and health.
All a patient wants is the information to manage their own and their families health. I know from personal experience how valuable seeing my own data is and how it can actually save lives.
PKB knows how much patients value their personal health record and they are eagerly awaiting their clinical teams to start using PKB with them.
We are always creating more resources for the Clinical Transformation toolkit. Within the specialty area, we are expanding the examples of how PKB is used by different teams. An example of this is Maternity Care.
For more information or support on using the Clinical Transformation Toolkit, please contact your Success Lead or email firstname.lastname@example.org.