Cancer trust rolls out communications app to bridge gap between clinicians and patients
The Christie NHS Foundation Trust has become the first specialist cancer trust to deploy the CardMedic healthcare communications app.
The deployment will enable the trust to bridge communication gaps that exist between clinicians and patients, caused by things such as cognitive impairments and language barriers, ultimately reducing health inequalities for cancer patients.
“Many of our patients do not speak English as their first language, and some cannot speak English at all,” explains Bethany Allen, digital nurse implementer at the trust.
“Since using CardMedic, we can be reassured that we are communicating with patients effectively and sensitively, which is essential in cancer care.”
CardMedic has been deployed across the entire organisation and, following an engagement programme, is now being used by 100 nurses, doctors, and pharmacists across the hospital’s four sites in Withington, Salford, Oldham, and Macclesfield.
The technology is being used during ward rounds and throughout clinical shifts, when interpreters or multi-lingual staff are not available.
Allen said: “Having this tool means we can safely and effectively talk with patients with additional communication needs when an interpreter isn’t available.
“It means we can deliver the same standard of care that we do to our English-speaking patients or those that don’t have additional communications needs.”
Since using CardMedic, we can be reassured that we are communicating with patients effectively and sensitively, which is essential in cancer care
Initially the technology was made available for nurses, but new use cases have since been identified by the trust within the pharmacy department.
“Our pharmacists don’t generally work with translators, as they are normally supporting ward rounds,” said Allen.
“Pharmacists have been using CardMedic to discuss medications with patients, which has transformed their relationship.
“They can use the chat function within the app to answer any questions that patients might have about a certain medication, and it’s really putting patients at ease.”
The trust has also been working with CardMedic to co-create content for its flashcard library, developing specific oncology scripts so patients who would otherwise struggle to communicate can be informed about their treatment.
“Receiving treatment for cancer is a very-profound and unfamiliar experience, so it’s very important that patients feel reassured,” Allen said.
And the trust has deployed digital champions within nursing teams to encourage uptake of the solution.
“Engagement isn’t mandatory, like it is with some technologies like electronic patient records, which can make it more difficult to get clinicians to engage,” explained Allen.
The new use cases the trust has found is a testament to how innovative and forward thinking the team is, all the while putting patients first
“Having superusers on the wards has really helped encourage more people to use it.”
Dr Rachael Grimaldi, chief executive at CardMedic, adds: “I’m delighted that CardMedic is helping to improve access to care for more patients at The Christie.
“The new use cases the trust has found is a testament to how innovative and forward thinking the team is, all the while putting patients first.”