The rheumatology department is offering a new service to support you in managing your rheumatoid arthritis (RA) at home. Our remote monitoring service aims to offer more flexible contact and appointments when you need them most. The idea is to keep in touch with your rheumatology team between hospital visits via text messaging.
Watch the remote monitoring service film on the Health Innovation Network Vimeo website to hear other patients share their experience of the service.
Remote monitoring service features
- We'll be asking you about your condition on a monthly basis by sending you a questionnaire via text messaging. This is so we can better monitor your rheumatoid arthritis.
- You have the option of texting us if you need help in a flare-up or want to report a change in your symptoms. You'll have the option of speaking to a nurse to discuss things further.
- We'll ask you a few questions about your health when your next appointment is approaching to give you the option of re-arranging if you feel you may not need the appointment at that time. The aim being to see you when you need support the most.
Frequently asked questions
Answers to questions about our remote monitoring service.
Who is the remote monitoring service for?
For patients with stable rheumatoid arthritis (RA) disease who are interested in managing their condition in this way.
Hear Helen's story on the Health Innovation Network Vimeo website to find out how she benefits from the service by keeping close to the clinical team when needed, and how it means she can avoid unnecessary trips to the hospital.
What does the remote monitoring service involve?
On a monthly basis, you will be invited to submit a patient-reported outcome measure (PROM) and have the option of leaving a free-text comment about your rheumatoid arthritis via text messaging on your personal phone.
- You are able to send a text into the service at other times.
- The PROM scores will be reviewed by the rheumatology service. Depending on these scores, you may be advised:
- to book a telephone appointment yourself with a nurse to discuss your condition if you feel it necessary. This is called a patient-initiated follow-up
- a telephone appointment would be arranged for you to speak to a member of the rheumatology team. This is called a clinician-initiated follow-up
- a clinic appointment would be arranged for you to be reviewed by the rheumatology team in person. This is called a clinician-initiated follow-up
- to consider deferring an upcoming appointment if you are well at that time or choose to change the appointment to a telephone or video consultation.
What is a patient-initiated follow-up?
The term patient-initiated follow-up describes when a patient (or their carer) can request an appointment as and when required. This may be because of a change in symptoms or circumstances. This helps patients access support when they need it (eg during a flare-up of their symptoms) and avoids unnecessary routine 'check-in' appointments. The patient can manage their own condition and takes responsibility for requesting an appointment.
What is a clinician-initiated follow-up?
The term clinician-initiated follow-up describes when the clinical team request an appointment with the patient. Requesting an appointment is based on clinical information obtained through monitoring the patient's condition, such as the use of patient-reported outcome measures (PROM).
What do I need to use this service?
Your clinician needs to have discussed whether this service is appropriate for you and your condition and referred you to the digital pathway coordinator. The service is for patients with stable rheumatoid arthritis who may have had the disease for a while.
To use the service you will need access to a smart phone which can receive and send SMS (text messages) and, if necessary, have someone who can help you use it.
When will you start messaging me?
Once your clinician has identified you as appropriate for the remote monitoring service, you will receive the first text message in the next few days.
What should I do if I don’t want to receive text messages from my rheumatology team?
If you have changed your mind and don't want to be part of this new service, you can text 'STOP' at any time to opt-out.
Usual rheumatology care will continue as normal for those not wishing to use the remote monitoring service.
What are we doing with the information you share?
The information you provide will be used by your rheumatology team to assess your condition on an ongoing basis. If necessary you may need to be offered treatment sooner. If you are doing well we can also offer for you to rearrange appointments based on need.
Hear Tom's story on the Health Innovation Network Vimeo website to find out why he got involved with the service and the benefits to him in feeling looked after whilst at home.
What information are we collecting?
We'll be holding your:
- NHS number
- mobile phone number
- monthly patient reported outcome measure questionnaire responses
- assessment notes if required
- incoming and outgoing text messages between you and the remote monitoring service.
How is my information accessed and stored?
Your information is being accessed only by the clinicians directly involved in your care via a secure log-in process. It will be stored following guidelines on best practice for health data security. A digital pathway coordinator manages the service to make sure only those caring for you have access to your information.
Will anyone else see my information and will it be transferred out of the EU?
The data will be accessible via your NHS Electronic Patient Records by health professionals. All data is stored within the UK and isn't transferred elsewhere.
How can I see a copy or ask for my information to be removed?
To see what information we hold for you, please ask your clinician to share it with you at your next consultation.
If you wish to contact the digital pathway coordinator to request your information to be removed from this service, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is anyone else offering this service?
The rheumatology departments at the following NHS Trusts in south east London will soon be offering this new service:
- King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust.
Our department is working with these services so we can all learn from the experiences of our patients in order to improve the rheumatology service we offer.
Why are we doing this?
The aim of the remote monitoring service is to support patients in receiving care when they need it most and by making every contact a patient has with their rheumatology team count in order to avoid unnecessary visits.
By collecting information on a monthly basis it allows both patients and clinical staff to better understand the patients' condition over time. We think as patients begin to experience care in a different way, through telephone or video consultation, email or text messaging, more patients will use these methods. This will help patients who need to be seen in clinic to do so through better use of clinical resources.
We know attending outpatient appointments for a long-term condition such as rheumatoid arthritis can sometimes be unnecessary when you are feeling well. The NHS long-term plan proposes new models of care which avoids unnecessary outpatient visits. Also, during the recovery of services following the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we are trying to avoid unnecessary travel and hospital visits.
Hear Nigel's story on the Health Innovation Network Vimeo website to find out how the remote monitoring service supports both his physical and emotional wellbeing.
If you wish to discuss the remote monitoring service, please contact Emily Smith, digital pathway coordinator
This service helps me keep track and take time to see where I am with my RA.
I think it is an excellent service. A disease such as RA can fluctuate enormously between clinic appointments and it is easy to forget what has gone on when giving a progress report in clinic. It is
a much better way of getting an accurate picture and I have really appreciated
having the contact each month.