Dr Pam Ramsay wins the Digital Impact Award 2019
Dr Pam Ramsay has led a team of patients, family members, clinicians, researchers and web developers, to create an award-winning e-health innovation that supports patients and families recovering after Intensive Care.
Pam was recently presented with the Digital Impact Award – given to an individual who has championed the use of digital technology to transform services, by the Scottish Secretary for Health at a ceremony in Edinburgh’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Her work has since been shortlisted for a further two awards, the Connect Innovate Award (recognising the innovative use of technology in delivering public services) and the Connect Digital Health and Care Award (celebrating new technologies that improve health and social care provision). The website also recently featured as part of a UK-wide Made at Uni campaign.
Every year, over 160,000 people are admitted to an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in the UK. Survivors often suffer long-term physical and psychological issues, but support is rarely provided after discharge home. In order to address this gap, Pam has led the development of the website, based on over 10 years of her interview-based research with patients in NHS Lothian. In an NHS evaluation, patients and families reported feeling reassured, better informed, and better prepared to manage their own recoveries. The website has been scaled up to six Scottish ICUs, is readily “localisable” to other geographical areas and clinical specialties, and is viewed by over 10,000 people a year.
The website provides bespoke information, advice and support for patients and families, who would otherwise struggle to find out more about the ICU experience, the common after-effects of critical illness and what to expect during recovery. Media include patient stories, webcasts from patients and clinicians on common issues and a patient forum. There is a strong focus on supporting self-management e.g. directing patients to relevant websites, local services for common problems (e.g. counselling or community physiotherapy), relevant organisations (e.g. Social Work, Citizens Advice) and third sector groups (e.g. carer support).
The website was co-designed with patients, family members and expert web developers, to optimise accessibility. Online content was specifically written in layman’s terms; there are easy search options, ensuring rapid access to relevant information and text can be altered in size, colour and font for the visually impaired or read aloud. Patients and family members can store information in a secure, personalised online library (saving repeated services) and importantly, text can be translated into over 100 languages, improving access to information for previously hard to reach groups.
Future work includes the online follow-up of ICU survivors; the testing and potential integration of virtual clinics (using Attend Anywhere) into the website (pilot funded), and its scale up across the UK.
Our website is the culmination of over 12 years’ work together with patients, their families, healthcare professionals, researchers and web developers. It’s been a long-term project and a real team effort, but it’s incredibly rewarding to know that it helps patients and families who would otherwise struggle to deal with the aftermath of ICU