Tameside health texts service wins national award

Flo award (1)A scheme that provides mental health service users in Tameside and Glossop with free
support via text message has won a national award.

The Flo telehealth system allows staff from Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust to contact service users quickly and easily and give them personalised care information.
The scheme was awarded the prize for Most Innovative Use of Flo 2014 at the Implementing Effective Digital Health Awards.

Staff from the service gave a presentation on the merits of the system which was launched in April this year to improve attendance at stress and anxiety groups and improve the outcomes for those who already attended the sessions using individual text support.

Those joining the groups were sent welcome texts and reminder messages on the day of a session and in less than six months the scheme has cut the amount of missed appointments by 16 per cent.

Texts are also sent to attendees in between sessions to support with homework tasks and help increase people’s confidence to complete the activities at home, aiding recovery.
The innovation puts service users in control of how much additional information they receive, allowing the person to continue to receive up five texts to support the original message.

Flo users also had a 22 per cent improvement in their mental wellbeing based on clinical measures compared with those not using the text service.

Caroline Pool, Pennine Care’s Strategic Lead for Long Term Conditions, said staff had received positive feedback on the scheme.

She said: “Our service users have found Flo interactive and helpful to their recovery and they appreciate the reminders to complete homework tasks.

“They have also told us it makes them feel supported between sessions.

“As a Trust, we are committed to using new technology such as Flo to help improve the way we treat, and interact with, our service users.”

Pennine Care also runs a Healthy Minds service where people suffering from mild to moderate depression, anxiety, stress or other mental health difficulties can refer themselves for support.

The service operates across Tameside and Glossop, Rochdale, Stockport, Bury and Oldham and more information, including a referral form, can be found at www.penninecare.nhs.ukhealthyminds