‘Digital technology is key to transforming health and social care services so that care can become more person-centred.’ – Scottish Government, Health and Social Care Delivery Plan
[There is] ‘a significant opportunity for digital to support the way people access services, become more actively engaged, and manage their own health and wellbeing.’ – Martyn Wallace, Chief Digital Officer of the Digital Office for Scottish Local Government
With these points in mind it makes sense that during Digital Health and Care Week we look to digital to help us to implement prehabilitation across Scotland.
Prehabilitation is quite a new term so it is possible you won’t have heard of it before; however it is not a new concept. It is the first stage in the rehabilitation pathway and using the context of cancer as an exemplar, subject matter experts would define it as:
“A process on the cancer continuum of care that occurs between the time of cancer diagnosis and the beginning of treatment. It includes physical and psychological assessment that establishes baseline function and identifies impairments, and interventions that promote physical and psychological health to reduce the incidence and/or severity of future impairments.” (Macmillan Cancer Support, 2017)
In other words it is about giving the individual who is about to undergo treatment (surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy) the best possible start so they can experience the best possible physical and psychological outcome.
What tools are available to help me implement prehabilitation?
Utilising resources already available through the No Delays platform won’t give you an all singing all dancing prehabilitation service, but it should help you get started.
During a consultation it is common for a person to miss key information; the explanation of the diagnosis may involve quite technical medical information and language; the diagnosis may be a shock and the patient may be stressed and unable to take it in.
No Delays allows the healthcare professional to send out a digital postcard (video(s) with a short, personalised message attached) by email to the patient. The short video can explain the condition in detail and inform the individual about locally available services.
The individual can watch the video in their own time, in a more relaxed environment, and if they wish, they can also share the information with family members and carers.
You as the professional, can see all the packages you have created and sent on the Management mode tab. You can also see when the patient last viewed the package, how many times they viewed it and when the package was last accessed. If you want, you can also set a reminder or resend a package to help maximise impact.
Keen to get going?
There are four No Delays videos available to staff working across Scotland (an introduction, home based low intensity, moderate walking exercise and increasing activity levels) which are designed specifically for people who preparing for surgery.
If you don’t already have an account go to the No Delays website, click on ‘Request an Account’ and enter your details. You should receive a login in just a few days.
Your next step will involve working with colleagues to embed initiatives and resources such as this into pathways of care. That will ensure that no patient misses the opportunity for prehabilitation and it will take us another step forward in ensuring the best possible outcomes for people undergoing treatment.
If you would like more information about Cancer Rehabilitation in general or specific elements of the continuum take a look at:
Follow me on Twitter @DebbieProvanRD
Or e-mail Debbie at Debbie.Provan@NHS.net
N.B: All of this week’s blogs are also available via Scotland’s new Digital Health and Care Website If you’ve not visited yet, why not take a look at it now and tell us what you think of it via the online survey.