This month saw the launch of the new Hospital Passport (HP) app at University Hospitals Plymouth. The app has been created to support people with a learning disability to be able to tell hospital staff what their needs are, what they like and don’t like and every detail that might affect their care. The Hospital Passport has traditionally been a paper document that patients needed to carry around but with today’s technology, it is more practical and efficient to use a phone or portable device, to keep the information safe and readily available. The Derriford User Group (DUG), is a group of people with learning disabilities and they have helped design the new digital version. Funding from Plymouth Hospitals Charity has built the app and will support the roll out of this new service.
Corinne Bailey, Charity Manager says, “to be able to fund this new service from the donations that people have given our NHS charity is fantastic. To fund a service designed by service users to make things better for more service users, is a total privilege. Everything is so complicated and difficult for many of us in our daily lives and then coming into hospital adds another layer of stress. We hope that this system, available on your phone, will make things easier for lots of people. Thank you to everyone who has supported the charity over the last few years, we could not do what we do without you.”
Saoirse Read, LD/Autism Service manager and project lead explained that traditionally, the HP is a well-known paper document which has been utilised for over 10 years now by our local learning disability communities when they come to our hospital sites. Having the document available only in paper format left potential for it to get lost and forgotten, as well as not being kept in one central, reliable, and confidential place. Not having information readily available can impact directly on individual’s health outcomes, causing delays in investigations, wrong diagnosis, and complications with treatment, thus resulting in a negative patient experience, poorer health outcomes and unsafe discharges.
DUG meet regularly to discuss how the Trust can continuously improve their services and it was in one of those meetings that the exciting idea of having a digital version of the HP through an app was born. DUG members were on board with modernising the HP, whilst also enhancing the standard of healthcare received. Local app developer, SUVO helped to bring their ideas into reality and to address health inequalities and will safeguard against:
- Diagnostic overshadowing
- Barriers preventing equal access to health services
- Wrong or late interventions
- The voices of family members and carers being ignored or not listened to
- Patients being readmitted if their needs were not met, or they were discharged unsafely
Most importantly, the information on the passport is kept up to date by the patient, who will complete the information pages on the app themselves or with support from their own home, so that clinicians in the Trust will always have access to the latest version.
Colleagues are aware of the importance of the hospital passport at induction to the Trust and through awareness training. UHP colleagues will have a separate web portal they can easily access, to read and print off a copy of the passport if needed. Jill Singh, Learning Disabilities Team Associate Educator, has created useful recourses in easy read format, to help use and understand the app for both patients and staff.
Lenny Byrne, Chief Nurse, stands, “I am delighted that the team have listened to the voices of the patients who this will affect at every stage of this project. This is another tool that helps us focus on delivering the best patient experience whist being safe and efficient. As a Trust Board representative, we completely endorse and support this fantastic project and look forward to the improvements that it will bring to deliver the greatest patient-centric care.”
If you want to download the app, you can search for “Hospital Passport” on your phone’s app store or follow one of these links: