March 2012 – As David Cameron declares rising rates of dementia are ‘a national crisis,’ the NHS South West launches their ground-breaking website and public information service ‘Our Health,’ with full backing from the PM.

The revolutionary site is the first of its kind in the UK and will launch a major drive to improve the lives of patients and their carers. The online service will initially be focused on dementia and stroke services and will bring together data and information on a range of local health and care services for patients, carers and professionals that was previously unavailable to the public.

Designed and developed in collaboration with NHS South West by Exeter and London based digital agency Organic Development, the site integrates social technology, and networking facilities so that patients and carers can connect to share and compare information and experiences. Over time, it will be developed to provide a comprehensive information resource across a wide range of health and care services.

James Moffat, Managing Director of Organic Development described what Our Health sets out to achieve:

“The site looks to break down the barriers between patients, the NHS and social care, helping service users make informed decisions and take control of their heath care experience. “

“For us, the challenge has been to make what is potentially a lot of complicated but important information simple, beautiful and accessible for the user, thereby empowering and enabling users of healthcare services.”

“For example, if you want to find out about local dementia care available to a family member, you can find out what services are available near you, how they have performed in the past, what your other users have to say about it, how to contact them and the kind of questions you need to be asking them in order to use the service effectively.”

“This level of accountability, transparency and ownership of NHS and heath care services has simply never been so easily available before now – but the system is a work in progress. There is a lot more to do and lessons to learn before it becomes a finished product.”

NHS South West has worked closely with Organic Development to develop a tool that delivers improved access to information about public services and that can be rolled out across the country.

Organic Development has designed the site to ensure it is, highly accessible, simple to use and an open service, with the aim of providing a range of benefits to the visitor.

• Visitors to the site will be able to identify services in their local area.

• The performance of these services can then be compared with services locally and across the South West and users can identify the best service for their needs.

• The site will integrate social technology including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and will also provide a forum for people to feedback on their experiences and to connect with others in similar situations.

• Patients, their friends and families will be able to find out more about a particular health condition and look up information on what treatment and services they can expect.

• The information on treatment and care will enable both patients and practitioners to make decisions about their treatment and care.

The open service will also provide valuable information for professionals, such as ‘what to expect’ information sections, directories of local services and performance comparisons between providers across the South West.

Sharing information in this way will help to drive service improvements as well as involving people in planning their own care. One of the key features of the NHS reforms is the “information revolution” to ensure that patients have greater control and choice over their care.

Oli Griffiths, Technical Director at Organic Development has been involved with the project from the onset, “This has been an awesome project to work on and it’s been great to have been involved from the beginning. The site uses open source technology and is following a collaborative development process that has allowed it to evolve very quickly. The next 12 months will see some interesting further development. This will include a lot more features to ensure the user has a great experience on visiting the site.”

Media launch

The official launch of the Our Health website will take place at 1pm on Wednesday 28 March 2012 at the Marriott Hotel in Swindon.

Presenting at the official launch and available for interview will be:

• Richard Gleave, Director of Programmes and Patient Experience for NHS South of England;

• Dr Nick Cartmell, GP Principle at Ashburton Surgery and GP Dementia Lead for NHS Devon and the SW Dementia Partnership (NHS South of England);

• Norrms McNamara. Norrms was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease in September 2008, aged 50. Norrms lives with his wife Elaine, who is his carer, in Torbay.
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About Organic Development

Organic Development is a web development and offer fully integrated marketing services with digital at the core, with a head office in Exeter. They advise on everything digital from web and mobile development, search engine optimisation, online PR, affiliate marketing, Google Adwords, content management, online advertising and social media.

More information can be found at

http://www.organic-development.com/

About NHS South West

The South West Strategic Health Authority was established on 1 July 2006 is accountable to the Department of Health for the performance of the NHS in the South West.

Their role is to ensure the NHS in the South West is run effectively and that NHS services, staff and organisations are developed to meet the needs of the future. They are a key link between the Department of Health and the local NHS.

More information can be found online at

http://ourhealth.southwest.nhs.uk/

For more information please contact:

James Moffat, MD, Organic Development
Tel: 0845 8697654 Email: james@organic-development.com

Oli Griffiths, Technical Director, Organic Development
Tel: 0845 8697654 Email: Oli@organic-development.com

Claire Warner, Project Manager and Communications Lead, NHS South West
Tel: 07976 370672 Email: Claire.Warner@southwest.nhs.uk

Published on: 3:30PM on 27th March 2012