Guy and St. Thomas text messaging service helps patients share anxieties

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A study by Guy’s and St Thomas ’NHS Foundation Trust has revealed that cancer patients are more likely to share their anxieties about their health by completing text or online questionnaires.

The findings of the study “Delivering personalized cancer care during Covid-19: Text eHNA” revealed that patients were more than twice as likely to reveal that they felt worried, anxious, or fearful about their health if they were given contacted by text message to complete needs assessment.

As part of their personalized care at Guy’s Cancer, all patients diagnosed with the disease would complete this assessment, traditionally with their nurse or healthcare professional in person at an appointment at the clinic.

The Covid-19 pandemic meant that appointments had to be virtual, so trusted staff established an electronic assessment of holistic needs. Patients were first contacted by text message and directed online to complete the questionnaire on time. A follow-up was then conducted over the phone to discuss concerns.

After completing more than 650 online questionnaires since April 2020, Guy’s team found:

  • 56% of patients filling out the online questionnaire said “worry, fear or anxiety” was their main concern, giving it a rating of 6.5 out of 10. By comparison, only 26% of patients who completed the questionnaire serving others raised it as a major concern. means completing the assessment and was given an average score of 5.4 out of 10.
  • When a text message was contacted, patients raised 6.7% more emotional concerns than those who marked it during a conventional assessment.
  • In addition, those who raised emotional concerns through text assessment were more likely to score them between 7 and 10, compared to those who conducted face-to-face assessments.

Nikki Cannon, responsible for transforming cancer survival into confidence and who led the study, said: “When we first introduced the assessment, we realized that patients expressed more concerns about their health. than those who had face-to-face assessments.

“It could be that patients have more time at home to reflect on their responses and feel that they can be more honest than if they were in a clinic. By continuing to focus on what our patients tell us, we are better able to evolve our practice and work with partners to meet those needs. ”

Now Guy plans to continue with the text assessments in addition to face-to-face. This is not the first time the NHS has used text messaging to deliver key services. In March last year, at the start of the pandemic, the NHS launched one text messaging support service for people who isolate themselves.





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