At Pogo Digital Healthcare, we know that clear communication – sharing the right information, in the right way, at the right time – helps patients to feel more supported and improves their recovery. However, in busy healthcare environments, medical professionals are often time poor, which can make communication a challenge.
Our organisation was created in 2019 and was inspired by the story of our Commercial Director, who experienced a stroke back in 2006. As a result of this, the company focuses on creating products for people living with long term conditions and aims to provide them with products that are tailored to their specific needs. Our flagship product, Tailored Talks, provides support, information and advice for people living with the effects of stroke. More recently we developed MyTailoredTalks, a patient-facing service that gives people living with Long COVID access to support, tailored information, and advice.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 and the subsequent pandemic, Long COVID has affected millions. Care for people with Long COVID has been difficult to provide, due to issues within the NHS such as increased waiting lists due to the COVID-19 backlog, as well as a general lack of information and understanding of the condition. These issues have been raised by health boards across the country at the front line of the problem, including NHS Lothian, as well as third sector organisations like CHSS. These organisations have since established several channels of support for people living with Long COVID, including an Advice Line, but struggled to get referrals from GPs. In the meantime, GP waiting lists continued to rise, and the care gap for Long COVID patients widened.
In partnership with NHS Lothian and CHSS, we developed MyTailoredTalks, an application that supports people living with Long COVID by providing personalised medical information and an entry point into support services from CHSS. The product has been consistently patient focused throughout its development and pilot, with input from clinicians, community support workers and patient groups during the project. The app itself features a self-assessment questionnaire that is designed to provide personalised support for patients based on their answers, and upon competition provides slideshows featuring multi-media advice and information about symptoms, mental health effects, and other areas where the user has reported concerns. This allows the patient to better understand their condition, while simultaneously saving time and resources for GPs.
Our overarching vision for the project was to improve support for people with Long COVID. MyTailoredTalks underpins a brand-new care pathway, not only giving people living with Long COVID access to valuable support and information, but reducing pressure on GPs by providing an easy and fast route of referral, thereby reducing repeat appointments.
The usability and effectiveness of the app were reflected within the positive feedback we received during these interviews. All of the feedback we received is now being used to develop and improve the system for future use. We have received positive feedback from clinicians, politicians, and most importantly, patients:
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf has commented, “I welcome this collaboration and investment. This kind of digital innovation is just one example of the flexible way in which our NHS boards across Scotland are adapting to meet the needs of people with Long Covid.”
“Having this service is a must for people my situation. We all need that support.” – Chloe, 26, Long COVID patient
“The site is easy to use…the information is short, it’s succinct, and it gives great advice” – Mike Smith, 58
“I got great help, especially learning the breathing exercises and how to use my lungs properly. I would recommend the service to anyone.” – Catherine, 67
Pogo’s mission is to make a meaningful and beneficial impact on the lives of patients living with or recovering from long term conditions. This remains at the heart of our ethos as we explore new markets and welcome new partnerships.