The case for Telehealth is compelling: using technology to deliver health-related services and information, we can care for more people in their own homes while reducing surgery visits and hospital admissions.

In 2010 the Healthcare Without Walls report predicted that Telehealth could save the NHS over £2bn per year.

During the same year Stoke-on-Trent PCT approached us with a problem and an idea. They had been trialling Telehealth for COPD patients using dedicated hardware in the patients' homes. They had seen positive results but some obstacles overshadowed the trials.

Firstly, the devices were too expensive to afford a large-scale implementation. It was great that they recorded positive results but unless the benefits could be taken to a wider patient group (tens of thousands of patients) the cumulative benefit would remain small.

Secondly, alerts prompted by unfavourable patient results were being triggered too freely. Clinicians were bombarded with unsuitable information.

Their idea was simple: rather than purchase and rely on specialist telehealth hardware, let's get patients to text their vital statistics using their own mobile phones.

Let's create a system flexible enough to send reminders and health tips that are personalised for each individual patient. These will be text messages encouraging them to take a more active role in their own healthcare.

Finally, let's build a system that is true aid to a Clinician's already busy schedule.

Together, we made Florence.

Text Messaging

As ubiquitous and user-friendly as technology gets.

We don't all carry the latest smartphone and we don't all understand how to install iPhone apps – but text messaging is, perhaps, the most basic function of all mobile phones. It's accessible, usable and cheap.

Simple Clinician Interface

A cluttered interface is the biggest obstacle to use; the last thing Clinicians need is another confusing system. We need to make taking care of people easier, not harder.

Patient's own Mobile Phone

Accessible technology for all patients. It's unfair to expect everybody to have the latest smartphone or gadget – their existing mobile phone should be all that they need.

Flexibility and Customisation

We all have different healthcare needs and conditions; one size doesn’t fit all. Effective healthcare can only be delivered through services tailored to individual patients.

Simple Clinician Interface

Complex interfaces stand in the way of the task at hand; simple interfaces walk you through the process.

Our focus must be on the information a clinician needs to see and the tasks they need to do. It should be intuitive, effortless to use, and require minimal (if any) training.

Simple Charts

At the heart of Florence is visual representation of patient vitals.

This information should be presented in a clear and concise manner that helps Clinicians make the right decision. Trends should be recognisable immediately and it should be simple and quick to fine-tune the data ranges.

Alerts & Notifications

Feedback, alerts and notifications must help Clinicians manage their patients.

To manage long term conditions effectively our systems need to track and identify trends. We need to customise the thresholds for specific cohorts and, indeed, for individual patients.

Florence has arrived.

While we started with Stoke-on-Trent, we now have over 70 health and social care organisations and over 12,000 patients registered. The numbers grow every day.

See Who's Using Florence