15th August 2019
15th August 2019
Since the arrival of social media, the way we communicate has developed vastly, whilst it has brought about positive change, the negative impacts it can bring shouldn’t be overlooked.
The use of social media continues to rise across all ages, but young people in particular are more susceptible to the contrasting impacts that it can bring. Some of the troubles that come with constant use of social media platforms are issues such as addiction, becoming socially isolated, a reduction in face-to-face interaction or developing a lack of social cues.
In 2017, RSPH and the Young Health Movement published a report that looked into this topic which highlighted that 91% of 16-24 year olds use the internet for social networking, and found that social media is linked closely with increased rates of anxiety, depression and poor sleep.
This report also highlighted the increase in negative thoughts and feelings amongst young people, with the below figures reflecting this:
Because of the negative factors to social networking, the RSPH have introduced Scroll Free September to encourage people to take 30 days to either reduce or cut out social media next month. Whilst the idea might seem drastic to some, the ability to step back and reflect upon your own social media use and the negative impacts it might be having on your life can leave you feeling more connected, and even surprised at how reliant on staying up to date with others’ lives we’ve become as a society. The chance to look at what you’ve missed in the 30 days, what you didn’t miss and what you enjoyed doing as an alternative has brought a sense of enlightenment to people such as Beth Bretherton, an RSPH Young Health Champion.
To say that social media is only negative, however, doesn’t reflect the opportunities that networking platforms have created accurately. As with many things the negatives attract more scrutiny, but positives find it harder to gain the same traction. For instance, the report in 2017 highlighted that sites like YouTube create a strong community feel and saw an increase in self-expression and emotional support. The introduction of Facebook saw people connecting in a way never thought of before; the idea of being able to instantly speak to long-distant friends and family or keep up to date with their lives with one click of a button was unprecedented, and now we’ve seen it grow in leaps and bounds and allow us to create positive online communities and combat social isolation.
As with most things, the idea of everything in moderation is key to maintaining good health and wellbeing, so it’s worth taking into consideration this coming month, how much time you’re spending on social media and the impact it’s having on your life. Taking actions that will benefit you, such as taking a step back for a length of time that suits your needs could be the short relief that you didn’t know you needed.
9th July 2019
With the face-paced and ever-changing time that we’re living in, the push on Digital Transformation within the NHS is important, now more than ever. The NHS Long Term Plan aims to not only give people more control over their health and care by providing the right digital tools and services, but also gives health care professionals the technology to help complete administrative tasks quicker, enabling them to focus more time to patients.
One of the key steps that have been taken is access to the NHS Apps Library, in which patients and health professionals can access over 70 approved apps and ranges from category specific options (diabetes assistance or Mental Health) to more general apps that can help you find the right treatment when you’re feeling unwell. In addition to what is currently available, the goal is for patients to be able to access the NHS 111 service online, as well as booking appointments in hospitals and GP, and accessing their GP records.
Reducing strain on the health service by minimising GP appointments and visits to A&E for non-emergency purposes is the primary focus for the Digital Transformation section of the Long Term Plan. Becoming more digital in the way patient care is delivered will give the opportunity to access certain services online to help people to stay well, to recognise important symptoms early on, and for individuals to manage their own health with the guidance of the right digital tools.
Figures like the below highlight the benefits we are already seeing because of the development of digital services:
– Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) is now used in 93% of England’s 7,300 GP practices, with more than 67% of prescriptions being delivered via EPS
– Digital access has saved the NHS £136 million in the 3 years from 2013 – 2016 
– Ability to book hospital and GP appointments is expected to save the NHS an excess of £50 million a year
In 2019 we are also seeing an increase in the number of adults using the internet in comparison to previous years:
– 99% of 16 to 44-year olds in the UK have used the internet in the last 3 months
– 47% of adults over the age of 75 have used the internet in the last 3 months, up from 20% in 2011
– Internet use by 65 to 74-year olds has increased from 52% in 2011 to 83% in 2019 
Another objective of the Long Term Plan is to expand and develop the Diabetes Prevention Programme to offer digital access from 2019, with platforms such as Diabetes Book & Learn already providing this service in south London, a good example of interoperability with patient records in EMIS Health and Vision made available to providers of diabetes education. The ability to find courses or groups to educate yourself about diabetes once being diagnosed helps to streamline care and communication between patients and professionals.
Returning to Simon Stevens statement, we believe Interoperability and digital transformation is both the present and the future. The trick is staying ahead whilst supporting patients to both benefit and keep up with the fast-pace of change.
2nd July 2019
The past few years has seen a significant rise in the recognition, and benefits, of Social Prescribing.
Social Prescribing is a means of GPs, Nurses and Healthcare Professionals to refer people to non-clinical interventions. For example, prescribing social activities or sports clubs to help tackle social isolation or mental health issues. Social Prescribing acknowledges that there are several factors in a persons’ life that can contribute to poor health, and that alternatives to clinical options can be highly beneficial.
“Social prescribing is not a new idea – good GPs have always done it, it didn’t have a name.”
Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair, Royal College of GPs
A large part of Social Prescribing is recognising that physical and mental health often goes hand in hand and some of what is available to individuals can improve both sides of one’s overall health.
Good examples of effective Social Prescribing activities or programmes are:
It’s no secret that the Health Service is under strain in the recent years, so the number of GPs that are referring patients onto Social Prescribing for not only patient benefit has increased, but also for the benefit of the NHS. In 2018, over 23% over 391 GPs said they or their colleagues have referred using Social Prescribing regularly, compared to 19% in 2015 and 20% in 2017 . Over 20% of people visit their GP for non-clinical reasons, a contributing factor for Social Prescribing being one of NHS England’s 10 High Impact Actions identified to help free up GPs time.
2019 has been identified as the year Social Prescribing came of age and with digital platforms, such as www.diabetesbooking.com playing a vital role in signposting and supporting referrals to community services.
25th June 2019
Priority Digital Health is delighted to be exhibiting at the annual Health Plus Care Show 26-27 June 2019.
The Digital Healthcare Show welcomes CIOs, CCIOs, senior IT leaders and clinicians from the NHS, Local Government, CCGs and Primary Care together to harness the huge opportunity to improve services and patient experience through digital transformation.
You’ll find us in one of the Digital Innovation Zone. Come along and say hello
7th May 2019
Priority Digital Health is delighted to be exhibiting at the annual Digital Health and Care Congress on 22-23 May 2019.
The event brings together leading NHS and social care professionals who are all interested in how data and technology can improve the health and wellbeing of patients and the quality and efficiency of services.
We’re thrilled to be joining NHS and social care teams, innovators, researchers and policy-makers for two days packed full of interesting content and innovative projects.
Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP is confirmed to give the keynote address on day two.
5th March 2019
John Dibb and Alison Meadows, the co-founders and directors of Priority Digital Health, are thrilled to find themselves in great company as the shortlist for this year’s Business Weekly Awards was announced.
Recognising Priority’s early success within the NHS and Public Health, the leading business journal in the world-class Cambridge and East of England innovation cluster, Business Weekly has shortlisted Priority for one of its renowned annual Business Awards.
The Awards will be announced at an invitation-only presentation dinner at Queens’ College, Cambridge on March 20th.
Learn more about the awards and the companies shortlisted here: https://www.businessweekly.co.uk/business-awards/awards-news/business-weekly-awards-shortlist-announced
In response to the growing interest in the role of social prescribing in health and social care, PDH have recently launched an addition to the priority suite of digital products.
(The Kings Fund). But the tool has a wider use.
priority.sp connects people using geo-location technology to a range of non-clinical services from volunteering opportunities and physical activity classes, to debt advice and employment services. There are many models for social prescribing and priority.sp can be tailored to any setting from an integrated lifestyle service to a local authority helping new residents find the support and services they need if they are new to an area.
Connecting people and communities, priority.sp can help combat social isolation, support social prescribing, promote community services and support the health and wellbeing of residents. Information is drawn from data from a range of sources and uses real-time geolocation technology to ensure accuracy. PDH work with communities to ensure data is kept up to date and relevant.
Founding PDH member Louise McGill recently returned to her native Australia and will be helping to spearhead the development of new markets for the priority suite of health and lifestyle products.
Based on Australia’s east coast in Brisbane, Louise will capitalise on recent support and advice the business has received from the Department of International Trade here in the UK.
Louise said that, while Australia is indeed a very different market to the UK, the interest and growing demand for user-led digital solutions is at an all-time high.
“In general, Australia performs well across the different wellbeing dimensions relative to other OECD countries but there’s still very much a way to go.
“Interest in supporting both residents and their communities in looking after their wellbeing is high, with the preventative agenda very much leading the way in this area.”
For further insight into how OECD countries perform in regards to wellbeing, see ‘How’s Life? Nov 2017’: www.OECD.org
We’re delighted to announce that we’re working with Everyone Health in Waltham Forest on a new digital lifestyle assessment platform and support website for their stop smoking service in Waltham Forest, using our priority.me platform.
The new ‘QuitWaltham’ website is being developed to complement the social media activity already available to residents. Launching in a few weeks time, the site will be full of tips and advice about quitting smoking and includes our bespoke priority.me lifestyle assessment which is the beginning of a supported stop smoking programme and allows residents to set goals, monitor their quit progress and stay in touch with the team at Everyone Health should they choose to do so. The service provides free expert advice, support and encouragement to help residents to stop smoking for good.
for more information on the service.
Maintaining good health is all about the balance between eating the right food (in the right amounts) and exercising both body and mind.
As a keen gardener, PDH Director Alison Meadows understands that gardening can not only be beneficial to our mental health, but it can give your body a pretty substantial workout too. And she’s in good company.
Author William Bird, a GP for over 30 years and the Strategic Health Advisor for Natural England, has been a long time advocate for preventing illness through use of the natural environment.
Being acutely aware of the detrimental effect that living in concrete jungles has on our wellbeing, he has been vociferous in urging family doctors to prescribe gardening to prevent the onset of many diseases.
With research showing that physically touching soil and plants has a dramatic effect on reducing stress, and Dr Bird’s claim that:
In the North of England, there are a group of Leeds health practitioners who have already ‘seen the light,’ and have started an allotment scheme for patients. The scheme not only gets patients moving outdoors (which keeps them healthy and provides them with vitamin D), the fruit and vegetables they grow also encourage healthy eating patterns.
Research shows that the human body has a physiological reaction to entering an outdoor environment, so much so that within minutes of being in a garden, muscle tension and blood pressure reduces and stress levels subside. This ultimately prevents the release of cell-damaging free radicals. Damaged cells cause untold harm in our bodies, resulting in premature aging, diabetes, heart disease, dementia and arthritis to name but a few afflictions.
As we get older, our access to fitness becomes limited, and although we hear about incredible feats of nature in the media (take the marathon runner aged 101), the majority of the older generation find it difficult to exercise due to health or mobility issues. The charity Thrive’s Chief Executive Nicola Carruthers, said:
Thrive endorse the standpoint that pushing a lawn mower, digging up weeds and stretching to prune trees and hedges, uses muscle groups all over the body. This equates to an energetic workout.
Motivation is also less of an issue with gardening, as it can be with exercise. With plants that need watering and taking care of to survive, the ‘get up and go’ mentality is soon forthcoming, and the resulting ‘harvest’ of either flora or fauna seems to produce bigger rewards than counting calories and performing bicep curls.
With gardening being regarded as a hobby, not an exercise, the derived health benefits are so much sweeter.