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The recently published NHS Long Term Plan marks a turning point in how healthcare is provided across England with a turning away from a system that prioritises treatment to one that focuses on the prevention and prediction of poor health. This, coupled with the rapid deployment of healthcare technology in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, has resulted in an overhaul of healthcare delivery with healthcare systems irrevocably changed. For example, online self-triage systems and video consultations have been widely and rapidly deployed with face-to-face GP consultations reducing from 70% to 23% within weeks of the outbreak (RCGP, 2020).

While digital solutions are proving an advantageous way to access healthcare for the majority, for some groups, technology can be very exclusive. Some members of society are much less likely to access preventative services such as cervical screening, childhood immunisation and smoking cessation, and tend to have poorer health outcomes. Transient groups such as migrants, asylum seekers, those in vulnerable social and economic situations, gypsies and travellers, sex workers, sofa surfers and homeless people may have low health aspirations and poor expectations of health services with little opportunity to shape their own care. These healthcare inequalities are estimated by the Institute of Health Equity to cost the NHS around £5.5 billion annually, indeed, the annual cost of unscheduled care for homeless patients is estimated to be eight times that of the housed population. (Faculty for Homeless and Inclusion Health, 2018).

Socially excluded groups pose a number of challenges for the deployment of technology

  • Poor self-esteem and chaotic lifestyles detract from the ability to keep healthy and look after one’s own wellbeing
  • Some groups may have poor literacy and require additional help such as audio access to information
  • The location and opening hours of standard healthcare provision may not fit with particular lifestyles
  • Some groups may be nomadic
  • There may be a lack of access to the internet and smart phones

 

A Kiosk Solution

At Elephant Kiosks we have developed our kiosk solution to serve hard-to-reach groups by designing them to serve as walk-in provision for location in contexts such as homeless hostels or gateway hubs where other services can be accessed. The kiosks have the following features:

  • Set of clinically approved care pathway questionnaires, such as NHS General Health Check, Contraceptive check, Diabetes checks
  • Kiosk links up to medically approved devices such as Blood Pressure machine and Height and Weight
  • Pathways can be translated into other languages for specific communities
  • Results can integrate with the EMIS/SystmOne community patient record module, be emailed to a named email address or printed out for the patient to take away
  • Can be linked to telehealth solutions for video consultation alongside vital signs checks

“We would like to see our kiosks being used as part of a wellbeing hub type scenario where there are other wellbeing services being provided, taking the health stigma away from doing regular screening checks and tests. This could also allow a route through to consultations out in the community alongside screening checks in a non-clinical setting” Annette Walker MBE, Managing Director of Elephant Kiosks

Potential advantages of the kiosk

  • Allow hard-to-reach groups easier access to healthcare at times suitable for them
  • Empower patients to decide who their data is shared with
  • Improve health literacy
  • Boost digital confidence
  • Access to health information
  • Normalise the regular monitoring of health in particular contexts
  • Use of technology to give people control
  • Empowerment over own health

 

If you’d like to know more about Elephant Kiosks, please do get in touch or connect with us on social media @elephantkiosks to learn more.