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Avatar-led Programme for Kidney Disease Patients Expands After Successful Pilot

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Avatar-led Programme for Kidney Disease Patients Expands After Successful Pilot | Pharmtech Focus

An avatar-led, interactive, information programme for people with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) has been so well received by patients and clinicians in Berkshire, it is being adopted as best practice across the region, converted into different languages and will cover additional subject areas. 

The programme, initially commissioned as a year-long pilot, was created by Cognitant group, on behalf of Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust. It was funded through Q Exchange by the Health Foundation and NHS England and NHS Improvement.

The initial objective was to evaluate how patients understand and want to consume health information about their chronic kidney disease (CKD). 

The clinical team, led by Dr Emma Vaux, worked in collaboration with Cognitant to create the programme as an easy-to-understand and accessible information pack, available in two formats; written information with diagrams, and immersive, interactive animated digital information. The digital version was accessed from the Healthinote platform via a QR code or hyperlink for patients to watch on their smartphone.

Both formats were tested by patients, with their feedback collected through questionnaires to assess effectiveness, understanding and ease-of-use. Results have shown that patients reported that they knew more about chronic kidney disease (96% digital versus 88% written), found the content easy to understand (100% digital versus 88% written) and that it was easy to find the information (100% digital vs 87% written). 

A year on, the programme continues to be used and is also being translated into Nepalese, Urdu, Punjabi and Polish, with cultural adaptation to address the needs of wider groups of patients. Information on Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) will also be added to the programme in the next few months. 

Dr Tim Ringrose, chief executive and co-founder of the Cognitant Group, says: 

“Our mission is to help people of all ages and abilities to understand more about their health and to be empowered to manage their health effectively. 

“This project is already demonstrating the impact it can have on people and how it this technology enables the NHS to provide more support for patients with long-term conditions.”  

Emma Vaux, Consultant Nephrologist and Physician at Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust says:

“This pilot was incredibly insightful for us as we had the opportunity to really explore how people consume health information and whether they would accept the digital delivery of this information. 

“We chose CKD as it was one of our biggest patient cohorts. Being able to reinforce patient information given, and more importantly for patients, to have a range of ways to access information at their fingertips, and revisit it when they want to, is transformational.

“Our vision, through the programme, is to improve patient experience, enable them to be well informed, both in their self-care and avoidance of complications, as well as ultimately delaying CKD progression. We are really pleased by the feedback so far. We are excited to continue to demonstrate the benefits of the programme across the wider community and the whole health and care system.”

Anonymous feedback from a patient:

“I’ve never experienced anything quite like this. It all felt a bit new. I am not very tech minded but my daughter helped. I like having written information, but watching it on her phone made it all feel a bit easier to get to grips with.” 

You can download and access the avatar-led programme on Healthinote – using the QR Code below.

Avatar-led Programme for Kidney Disease Patients Expands After Successful Pilot | Pharmtech Focus

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