Blog posts

We post any pre-reading and summary posts of the chats here for you all to read. We also blog during the week on all matters of tech, strategy, commisioning support and patient experience use of social media.

One app, Five Ways to Wellbeing: An app is born

September 19th, 2013 by

Today sees the launch of the free Five Ways to Wellbeing app for iOS and Android devices.

You may remember back at the end of April the initial testing stage of the app. After many hours of graft we’ve got to the exciting time – launch!

1.   Connect
2.   Be Active
3.   Take Notice
4.   Keep Learning
5.   Give

The app takes the ever popular and evidence-based Five Ways to Wellbeing and puts them in an easy to use and flexible format. By setting activities for any of the Five Ways you can help improve your wellbeing and reflect on how your activities affect it.

The app isn’t prescriptive. It sets no minimum or maximum limits. You can use the Five Ways every day or just a few times a month. It’s all about finding a level that suits you personally.

So, download it now for free from Google Play or the Apple App Store and have a play. You never know, it could change your whole outlook on life…

Get it on Google Play

Learning from last night’s #nhssm & #WeComsers chat on #SocialMedia & Commissioning

April 10th, 2014 by

I really enjoyed the frenetic but informative tweetchat held last night between #nhssm & #WeComsers. Here’s a link to the chat archive.

I found those taking part enthusiastic for the potential of social media and where commissioners are already using it.

I think it is fair to say that many CSUs and CCGs are in the early days of their social media journeys. Many organisations are still thinking about what platforms to adopt and getting leadership buy-in. The next stage of utilising social media is increasing patient participation, engagement and measuring these.

It is also recognising that sufficient capacity and resourcing is required. Social Media is cheaper than traditional engagement methods but it is not free. (Whilst opening a Twitter account is free, staffing it is not.)

With the number of social media accounts increasing I would also recommend that organisations work together to ensure that important potential learning isn’t lost in the echo chamber. There is a lot of noise in the social space right now and it is important for organisations to really think about whether what they are sharing is useful and informative or just adding to the din.

Finally the importance of listening to your audience and going where patients and the public already use social media to hold conversations. This as @DGFoord should mirror what commissioners are doing ‘in real life’. Getting out there and talking to people.


Bringing NHS wayfinding into Google Maps

August 13th, 2013 by


As part of my work at St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust I’ve been working with Google to create an indoor map of St George’s Hospital in Tooting. An indoor map allows anyone using Google Maps to see a floor by floor layout of Wards, Departments and points of interests such as cash machines, shops, toilets etc.

The maps also allow users to search for a ward and a pin will be dropped on the ward so they can see where it is. They can then navigate to the ward from their current location, much like in the normal Google Maps. Once this functionality has matured patients will be able to navigate from their door to their ward from directly within Google Maps.

Google Maps is the most used app on Smartphones globally and has over 1,000,000,000 active users a month. By bringing Hospital wayfinding into the a widely used tool it increases discovery, doesn’t require any extra effort from the user (they would be using Google Maps to get to the hospital) and thanks to the ecosystem built around Google Maps filters down into other apps.

Of course while Google Maps is a really great platform there are others such as Apple’s maps on iOS, Bing and OpenStreetMap. Currently these platforms don’t offer anything similar to Google’s indoor maps, and certain platforms like Apple’s maps don’t show more than a big red blob for St George’s. Luckily we now have our site drawings in a format we can use to add detail to the other platforms and knowledge of how the different types of map object work to make these details easy to find, and interact with.

Should the NHS be looking to make its wayfinding information publically available via existing tools or should NHS trusts continue to create their own tools?

What would you want from a tweeting CEO?

June 4th, 2013 by

This week we’ll be continuing the roll #NHSEngage has started and having a look at what staff, patients, the media and public would want from NHS CEOs who are using or thinking of using social media.

As well as #NHSEngage (led by NHS Employers) this week’s topic has been inspired by the recent Weber Shandwick questionnaire-led research on what executives think their CEOs should, should not or could being using social media for.

So, as well as the research (see the infographic for a run down) pre-reading this week is the following blogs:

See you at 8pm!

p.s. something you might also like to think about ahead of time is what about the introvert CEOs? Do they just have to get on the social media bandwagon and push their personalities out there or can social media and introversion be the best of friends?


Want to play a part in one of the biggest health campaigns this year?

May 29th, 2013 by

From: Aaron Gow is an NHS communicator with nearly 10 years’ experience. He is Programme Manager, Knowledge and Communications, at Haelo, a new organisation that is helping the NHS to improve.


What do you know about pressure ulcers?

Did you know that pressure ulcers affect hundreds of thousands of people each year?

In 2012, 186,617 people were harmed from pressure ulcers that developed in hospital in England. Of this, 148,293 could be avoided.

Pressure ulcers can range in severity from patches of discoloured itchy skin to ulcers that are so severe that they turn into gaping, pus-filled holes where muscle or bone may be exposed or damaged. As a direct result of pressure ulcers people get blood poisoning, bone and joint infections, flesh-eating bacteria and/or gangrene.


Pressure ulcers are shocking, happen quickly and up to 80% of them could be avoided.

Pressure ulcers are shocking, happen quickly and up to 80% of them could be avoided.

Shocked yet? Because we are.

A growing group of healthcare professionals from staff on wards, to directors of nursing, NHS leaders and consultants, are joining together reduce pressure ulcers. We know there is good work going on, but there are also people and organisations who need help to improve their services. We’re committing to reduce the number of people getting pressure ulcers by 50% by 31 March 2014. That’s 74,647 people who could have a better life free from pressure ulcers.

While this is a national campaign, it’s not a designated part of anyone’s day job; we’re all doing it as something extra because we realise that change needs to happen now.

Web dev and digital comms position

We need help from some NHS staff who are technically minded with both web design and development and digital comms experience. We want people who really know how communications can make a massive difference to peoples’ lives and help deliver a project with national and international significance.

It’ll be challenging work, juggling data, news and stories from across England. But it’ll be rewarding. Think of all those people who you can help. The work will all be based on mobile working – video calls and emails – so there is no need to be located in the North West of England to get involved.

Some initial campaign details can be found on Prezi and Scribd. If you’re interested, drop me an email for more details.