ChatHealth was implemented by the Children’s Diabetes Team at Locala Health & Wellbeing in June 2021 to enable patients and their families to directly contact their Children’s Diabetes Specialist Nurses for support.
Organisation: Locala Health and Wellbeing
Service: Children’s Diabetes Team
The Children’s Diabetes Team at Locala Health & Wellbeing cover the area of North Kirklees in West Yorkshire. The team consists of two Children’s Diabetes Specialist Nurses providing support to children aged 0-19 who have diabetes and their families as well as to nurseries and schools working with children who have diabetes.
With a caseload of more than 100 patients, the Children’s Diabetes Specialist Nurses help children with diabetes and their families to learn about diabetes in all aspects of their life through regular contact and when urgent advice is needed. The main way to contact the team was to call Locala’s Single Point of Contact telephone line. However, patients and parents and carers needed a quicker way to contact the service directly when they needed help or advice. They expressed a desire to communicate via text message, but the nurses could not share their work mobile numbers due to the clinical safety risk of being contacted out of hours or when unavailable to respond.
ChatHealth was recommended to the Locala Children’s Diabetes Team by their colleagues in the Thriving Kirklees 0-19 Service who had already implemented messaging services for young people aged 11-19 and parents and carers of children and young people aged 0-19. Locala Sexual Health service were also setting up ChatHealth during this time. Setting up their own ChatHealth messaging service would enable the Children’s Diabetes team to safely offer confidential help and advice via text to patients on their caseload.
The award-winning ChatHealth messaging platform was developed by Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust in 2013 and has now been adopted by more than 80 NHS Trusts and healthcare organisations. The robust safety and security features offered by ChatHealth helped the Children’s Diabetes Team feel confident in deciding to set up a messaging service. With both nurses having access to a shared inbox, no messages would be missed and as an agile service they could receive and reply to messages, no matter where they were working, when connected to the HSCN network (Health and Social Care Network). ChatHealth’s project team at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, provided project management support throughout the service’s implementation which was followed by staff user training on using the ChatHealth platform to respond to messages. One of the Children’s Diabetes Nurses, Kate Scott, gave positive feedback on the implementation:
“It was very easy. We had training and support all the way through and have not looked back since!”
The Children’s Diabetes team launched their ChatHealth messaging service in June 2021, offering it to the parents and carers of children and young people on their caseload and to the young people themselves who had their own phones. The messaging number was shared on patient appointment letters, with key information about using the messaging service, including response times, emergency contacts and confidentiality policies. The messaging service was set up to send automated bounce-back replies sent to messages received in-hours and out-of-hours to help manage expectations and signpost accordingly for emergency advice.
Locala’s ChatHealth messaging service for Children’s Diabetes has proven to be well-utilised and much appreciated by patients and their families. It has enabled them to directly contact the Children’s Diabetes Nurses in a convenient way, as and when needed, for a quicker response rather than taking the longer route of the Single Point of Contact telephone line. It has allowed the Children’s Diabetes nurses to receive and respond to messages no matter where they are working in a safe and managed way.
The Children’s Diabetes messaging service has proven to be very popular, with more than 1,500 messaging conversations between the Children’s Diabetes nurses and the families on their caseload since it was set up. As shown by the statistics below, the service is consistently busy:
- An average of 66 messaging conversations a month
- Busiest time for contact is Monday and Tuesday at 9am.
- Reasons for contact is for issues with diabetes technology, insulin adjustment and sick days, as well as appointment information.
Staff, patients and their families say that ChatHealth has helped to enhance the service offered by Locala’s Children’s Diabetes Team to support children and young people with diabetes. One parent gave positive feedback, saying: “Yes, it has helped. If for any reason I am worried about anything I can text one of the nurses for advice.”
Kate explains how it has benefited their Children’s Diabetes service:
“It is an excellent service. Patients and parents and carers like that they can text us whenever. No member of staff ever needs to worry about missing a message and the bounce-back reply ensures that our emergency advice line number is given in case more urgent care is needed.”