- Manchester Heart Failure Website - GM-HFIT
- Background and Development
- Putting Evidence into Practice
- Further Information
Putting Evidence into Practice
Initial discussions with healthcare professionals highlighted a need for a central information point; focus groups with patients shared this need.
Using the internet for health information is increasing at a rapid rate, with research claiming that as many as 80% of internet users visit health websites and over 50% of these users believed that their behaviour was influenced by such health information. In one study it was found that 87% of respondents used the internet for information about a health topic, compared to 71% who obtain information from a health professional.
Heart failure is primarily (although not entirely) a disease of the elderly and it was initially thought that this may cause a problem with website use. However, in 2009 the Office for National Statistics (ONS) identified that the number of over 65s who access the internet has increased by 15% (proportionally) to around 35%. The GM CLAHRC Manchester Heart Failure website has taken the elderly age of patients into account in its design, utilising advice from NHS Senior Health about the use of larger text fonts, contrast adjustments and multi-media options. After consultation with heart failure professionals, patients and carers, it became evident that many patients accessed the internet with the help of a carer or family member.
A number of heart failure related websites already existed, however, as part of our patient and carer involvement, there appeared to be an issue regarding ‘trust’. Patients and carers did not always know what information and advice was credible. There were also an issue around ‘access’, as again patients and carers were not sure ‘where’ or ‘how’ to find the appropriate information. In order to understand what was important in terms of website design, content, structure and usability, we worked closely with people who have heart failure. Some of this work was with the Withington Heart Help support group who we ran a workshop with in November 2010 and which you can read about here. The other was with three patient and carer focus groups we held across Manchester which you can read about here. These meetings gave us the opportunity to discuss ideas and seek the opinions of the following local cardiac and carer groups:
- The Ticker Club
- Withington Heart Help Support Group
- Manchester Carers Forum
- Manchester Carers Centre
- North Manchester Heart Beat Group
The clinical aspect of the website was developed through discussions with local heart failure specialist clinicians and the project’s clinical lead Prof Christi Deaton. The website pulls together existing information and resources about heart failure patient self management from the following evidence based organisations:
- The British Heart Foundation
- The European Society of Cardiology – Heart Failure Matters
- The American Heart Association
Patients can find generic heart failure information about their condition, diagnosis, medication, diet and exercise which is applicable to all heart failure patients and healthcare professionals. The website also has information which is specifically related to patients and health care professionals based within Manchester and its residing areas, such as; biographies of Manchester heart failure professionals, NHS Manchester services and local cardiac and carer groups.