Launching My GM Care app to 13,000 patients at Haughton Thornley Medical Centre

On 16th April 2024, Dr Amir Hannan, GP at Haughton Thornley Medical Centre in Tameside, pressed send on a text message to almost 13,000 patients of Haughton Thornley Medical Centre (HTMC) and held his breath.

This was the pilot launch of the My GM Care app to patients in Greater Manchester and new technology can bring new risks, which can be closely followed by a wave of patient enquiries. The HTMC online support desk team waited expectantly to see what would happen.

The My GM Care app gives patients access to information held on their GM Care Record, such as medications, vaccinations, and allergies. Patients and carers can update personal information and preferences, self-report measures such as blood pressure, weight, and mood, and update digital care plans for dementia wellbeing, heart failure, frailty and end of life, if available.

Patient or carer input via the app updates the GM Care Record which means health and social care professionals across Greater Manchester have up to date, comprehensive information for everyone involved in a person’s care.

Find out more here

To the team’s relief, the phones were reassuringly quiet, on this topic anyway. Only a handful of My GM Care enquiries came into the practice, even though the app was downloaded by over 700 curious residents on the first day.

Patients actively contributing to their own care

Since launch, there have been between 400-500 unique logins every day and people are starting to self-report measures and complete All about Me information which is shared with health and care professionals via the GM Care Record.

Dr Amir Hannan, GP, said, “It’s fantastic to see patients interacting with their care record in this way. Up until now, the GM Care Record has been a godsend for A&E and Out of Hours services who can see allergies and medications when they need to provide life-saving treatment. The benefits of the GM Care Record weren’t really felt by GPs as it was mainly primary care information that was being shared with other services.

“My GM Care is a game-changer because, for the first time, patients are becoming active contributors in their own care. I can see when a patient has set a goal in All about Me and how they are contributing towards that goal. They’ve never been asked this before so it’s a change in mindset from being a receiver of care to an active participant.

“My GM Care will enhance the care provision for my patients which can only be a good thing.”

At a Haughton Thornley Patient Participation Group held on the only warm day in April 2024, patients gave their feedback on their first impressions of the app. Cathy, Secretary of the PPG, liked the personalisation element of the app. She said, “I like that personal information can be shared, from home access and pet information to power of attorney and advanced directive documents, and that these can be accessed by care professionals which is useful for social care services in particular. Patients in crisis can’t always provide this information so having it accessible makes all the difference.”

There were some minor glitches but in terms of functionality and ease of use overall, the reception was very positive from the early adopters in the room.

Making sure digital innovation doesn’t exclude those without smartphones

Not everyone attending was an advocate of using apps. Some in the group didn’t wish to own a smartphone and it was important to address the potential risk of digital exclusion, as some were worried about how apps such as the NHS app and My GM Care could lead to patients without smartphones receiving poorer quality care.

Dominic Sexton, PPG member, responded, “As more patients communicate with their practice online, time is freed up for patients who wish to continue with more traditional methods of communication. Dr Hannan added, “Digital systems are implemented to support us, not replace us, and while the My GM Care app is an exciting new phase in our digital journey, there’s no one size fits all and we will always ensure the same standard of care is provided for all.”

More information about the My GM Care app can be found at  My GM Care: PHR App Resources for Clinicians – Health Innovation Manchester

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