ID badges and lanyards

The business case for Forget-me-not Products

Supporting the NHS ‘self-care’ directive

Since 2015, the NHS has been looking into steering the UK towards ‘self-care’ as a low-cost means of relieving the problems in the state healthcare sector. These problems have been massively exacerbated by staffing issues and the Covid crisis. As a result, the healthcare teams who have been looking after us through such difficult times are now struggling mentally, physically, and financially.

Research from the BMA and the ONS makes grim reading:

  1. Mortality rates in the UK have grown and has impacted life expectancy
  2. Health services were not used as much
  3. Demand for hospital care has outstripped capacity (even before covid)
  4. Patients are waiting longer for emergency care
  5. Waiting times have rocketed
  6. GPs are finding it harder to make referrals
  7. Even the private sector can’t take the slack to help
  8. Dementia deaths have increased and diagnoses declined
  9. Cancer targets continue to be missed
  10. Alcohol consumption increased and alcoholic liver deaths are likely to rise
  11. Children’s development may have suffered

Survival of the NHS

If the NHS is to survive this crisis, a simple interim solution needs to step in quickly, while a new long-term plan is developed and executed.

The interim solution needs to be:

  • Build on the ‘self-care’ initiative
  • Quick to implement
  • Function effectively and consistently
  • Easy to deliver and distribute
  • Have a justifiably sound return on investment.

Information security risk

The ransomware attacks on multiple NHS Trust systems in 2022 demonstrate that any new solutions for the NHS need to incorporate a physical record to be retained somewhere in case of system breach or technical issues, whether local or national.

NHS online

The NHS has a vast resource of high-quality information online either at NHS England, NHS 111, or individual NHS Trusts. However, to get specialist information requires insight, time, perseverance, and an ability to avoid the pitfalls of Google Search.

Any difficulties with accessing online information – because of illness, technical inability, or lack of access etc – make it almost impossible to get to the information you need. The NHS expects you, or someone close to you, to proactively search and sift for the information - it doesn’t seem to have much budget to print and distribute the information directly to patients.

While online distribution is a far cheaper option, our ability to absorb information on-screen is still very much in its infancy in the evolution of human development. Yes, digital sources enable us to use the invaluable ‘search’ facilities it offers, but we have centuries of experience of reading physical communications behind us.

There’s still very limited research on perception and legibility of online v physical communications – technology is evolving superfast so it’s understandably hard for research to keep up the pace. But the research that does exist to date shows that we still need both – digital and print. Print offers us spatial and physical cues to help us process the words on the static page, while web search encourages speed scanning without fully reading and absorbing the meaning of text.

A personal story

Having spent many hundreds of hours in recent years researching health issues for my work, and subsequently for my own family’s health, I have seen that there is an unmet need for reliable and concise offline tools to help people manage their symptoms and health at home.

About 10 years ago, frustration led me to set up my own spreadsheet to monitor my blood tests alongside my symptoms. The GP system online didn’t seem to convey the historical picture in a patient record – they could only view limited blood test results which only flagged whether it was normal, abnormal or borderline.

From my own experience, I have seen that showing a GP this historical record really helps them to understand my symptoms by giving a fuller picture and showing progression over time.

And by presenting a good summary medical history to consultants it has really helped the diagnosis process and getting the right treatment.

For example, my 70 year old mother had been suffering really badly for 3 years, despite seeing her GP and consultant numerous times. She got so ill that I decided to look after her at my home. To help with communicating with a completely new healthcare team (local GP, A&E and consultants), I pulled together an A4 summary sheet of her medical history. A clear picture of her symptoms, alongside a list of her test results and any investigations that had been done, enabled the new team to diagnose relatively quickly that she had in fact been suffering with Lymphoma.

Benefits to medical professionals

We aim to support medical professionals by helping to reduce unnecessary appointments when illness can be treated at home with basic guidance, while helping to create a consistent care pathway and improved patient communication channels.

Patients have printed tools to document and communicate their symptoms more accurately, enabling health professionals to improve early diagnosis and treatment outcomes.

Hard copy records address some of the risk of cyber threats to IT systems.

Benefits to patients

Our products aim to provide people with reliable information to self-treat minor illness at home, while giving them confidence to know when and where to get medical advice when they need it.

The printed care packs enable individuals to feel more in charge their medical history and encourages them to proactively engage with it.