My Topol fellowship problem / project:

Providing person-centred care for older people with frailty requires a clear understanding of an individual’s functional abilities and support needs, including aspects such as mobility, memory and mental processing, mood and behaviour. Equally important for health and care professionals is the ability to recognise subtle changes and take prompt action to prevent avoidable deterioration and loss of independence. Yet, one of the difficulties for professionals is recognising the complexity and nuances of an older person’s condition from patient information condensed into clinical documentation and verbal handovers.

We have known for a long time that ineffective communication underpins preventable harm to patients and older people with frailty are a particularly vulnerable group. Added to this, patients and their families are frustrated with a lack of joined-up care, which increases carer burden and provokes distress and anxiety. My project aims to address these problems by implementing and evaluating a secure platform for video-based patient records in our Medicine for the Elderly service. I will explore whether capturing patients’ functional abilities and support needs on video, and storing these as part of a visual patient record, is acceptable, feasible, and useful to the patients, their families, and the multi-disciplinary team.

I currently work as a Research Fellow in Digital Health. My work involves designing, implementing, and evaluating digital innovations that address the needs of patients and the health service. I am a registered nurse and previously worked in a busy vascular unit caring for patients with conditions affecting their arteries and veins. During that time, I experienced how digital health technologies can bring substantial benefits providing that the diverse needs of patients and professionals are understood and addressed. These experiences made me want take on more of a leadership role in digital health, to ensure that technologies are being used meaningfully with proper evaluation of their impacts.