Digital health and technology
During the pandemic, stroke teams are now working more remotely to reduce the risk of infection, which has required the rapid implementation of virtual consultation and rehabilitation. National community and secondary care guidance as well as local guidance has been released to support these ways of working and to provide examples of best practice. A national community hub with resources and a community of practice has been launched.
It is essential that healthcare professionals select and utilise digital technology appropriately, ideally using evidenced based products that have been endorsed by the NHS or a similar body. A product must be beneficial to its user, and should also comply with UK information governance requirements, with cost and accessibility other important considerations.
Digital health technology can be used to help stroke patients (and their carers) in the following ways:
- Stimuli for skilled and functional therapy
- Home practice
- Stroke prevention and healthier lifestyles
- Emotional well-being
- Social engagement and peer support
The NHS app library has been established to help inform professionals and the public, with other organisations such as ORCHA providing searches for rated apps with a site set up for physiotherapy for CSP members. Aphasia software finder is an up to date website that can be used to find products relating to the condition.
Healthcare professional bodies may have codes of conduct for using technology, as may local NHS Trusts and these should be followed by clinicians.
COVID-19: guide for rapid implementation of remote consultations – Guidance by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists
Information on providing online services – guidance from the HCPC
Remote and virtual working
accuRX – NHS endorsed software for remote consultations
Attend Anywhere – widely used in the NHS for video consultations
Video consultations for COVID-19 – Trisha Greenhalgh
Physiotools – for creating home based exercise programs
Multi Device Agreements – guide to setting up devices such as tablets to reduce the cost of purchasing apps