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Modernising healthcare to empower communities – our 2021-22 social impact report

By 29th December 2022No Comments

Apps combating lung disease, reducing waiting lists through a new queuing system, and seeing more people by video – when they want to be seen. These are just some of the modernising techniques used in the last year by Sirona care & health, as revealed in its annual social impact report.
The last 12 months has seen the Community Interest Company (CIC) embrace technology like never before in the pursuit of improved outcomes for everyone who uses its services.
One example of the positive contribution is a project supported by the West of England Academic Health Science Network: the health system across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire was awarded funding from the NHS’s Digital Health Partnership Award to roll-out a new app, alongside digital health champions, to support people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). The app, myCOPD, provides guides on self-management, how and when to take medication, pulmonary rehabilitation and more, to help individuals recover and manage their condition effectively at home.
Sirona publishes its social impact report annually to demonstrate the additional value it provides as a Community Interest Company (CIC) providing NHS funded services to the communities it serves.
Work to include video appointments began in 2020-21 and has steadily increased year on year. Where possible Sirona gives people a choice as to how they would like to be assessed, offering remote assessments, as well as face-to-face healthcare, depending on the service.
This has several advantages from a social value perspective. We know not everyone can easily get to face-to-face appointments; by providing video appointments, we can increase the satisfaction of many individuals, who prefer to receive care in the comfort of their own home. By removing their need to travel, we also reduce the carbon footprint of our services. And in some services, the increased use of video appointments allowed us to support more people.
Our musculoskeletal service, meanwhile, has reorganised to reduce waiting times from over a year in some areas before Sirona started delivering the service to 10-12 weeks now. Additionally, the team submitted an entry to become a pilot site for an NHS England and Improvement initiative entitled The NHS Digital Weight Management Programme. Their aim was to remotely support people with osteoarthritis to self-manage their weight, so they can better manage their condition.
The 12-week online behavioural and lifestyle programme can be accessed via a smartphone or computer with internet access, and it involves a combination of digital weight management information and coaching, depending on the needs of the individual. The team hope that initiatives like this will have a lasting positive impact on the health and wellbeing of those in their care – in addition to the direct benefits involved in terms of managing their condition.
Other innovations include a text message support service for school pupils, called Chat Health; free webinars for parents to promote healthy eating and emotional health in children, and YouTube videos to develop children’s speech development. The full report is available.
Julie Sharma, Sirona’s interim Chief Executive, said: “Over the last year, we worked hard to embed technologies and innovations we had initially developed during the pandemic, with the aim of achieving more through our care and adding value to all that we do.
“In some services we were able to support a greater amount of people through increased use of video appointments, as the examples in this report demonstrate.
“We also used digital apps, webinars and videos to support health promotion and self-management of care.
“We are a forward-thinking organisation, and we will continue our hard work to ensure improved outcomes for all.”