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Ankylosing Spondylitis Remote Monitoring Utilising a Social Media App

Remote monitoring of ankylosing spondylitis patients via WUPWOO social media to facilitate protocol based care and virtual group clinics to reduce the need for traditional face to face follow-ups

Read comments 4
  • Idea
  • 2019

Meet the team


  • Jackie Davies, Divisional Planning Manager
  • Suzanne Lewis, Business Performance Assistant

What is the challenge your project is going to address and how does it connect to your chosen theme?

Demand across acute outpatient services continues to increase; creating an imbalance between demand and capacity. This imbalance can impact the length of time patients are waiting to access traditional outpatient appointments.

A recent study estimates that each year about 2% of people in a general practice will present with back pain and up to 5% of these will show features of ankylosing spondylitis (AS) [Underwood and Dawes, 1995]. There are around 200,000 diagnosed cases in the UK [DH, 2006] and it most commonly begins between the ages of 20 and 30, with 90–95% of people aged less than 45 years at disease onset [Sieper, 2012]. A proportion of AS patients could benefit from remote monitoring during the earlier stages of their diagnosis which in turn would release capacity for the more chronic patients.

The challenge for the NHS is to provide greater digital choice for patients, providing alternative solutions whilst providing better health and wellbeing outcomes.

What does your project aim to achieve?

The aims of the project are to:

  • Reduce the number of traditional face to face follow-up appointments
  • Provide virtual group clinics (forum based / healthcare managed)
  • Facilitate protocol based care
  • Release capacity for more chronic patients
  • Improve clinical pathways and patient experience
  • Provide greater digital choice for patients

The realisation of benefits will be monitored via a set of agreed KPIs during a pilot phase.

How will the project be delivered?

Initial feedback from current remote surveillance programmes (utilising My Medical Record) to support cancer patients within the Trust has been positive and uptake has been higher than expected. Current feedback indicates that patients are expecting and wanting digital solutions as a standard option.

The project will be delivered and monitored through improvement based methodology. An initial pilot phase will enable the project to review patient and clinical feedback to evaluate the use of technology from both patient and clinical perspectives.

What and how is your project going to share learning throughout?

The use of the WUPWOO Social Media App is a scalable project for not only specific cohorts of patients, but is also transferable across other specialties and services. For example the original development of WUPWOO Social Media App supported paediatric mental health patients. The WUPWOO Social Media App is available to both NHS organisations and other medical support services across the UK.

Regular monitoring and feedback will enable the local team to generate reports to provide feedback to the QExhange Community, Trust Executive Board and NHSe Transforming Outpatients National Programme (CoCH participant in tranche 2 of the Transforming Outpatients Workstream).

How you can contribute

  • 1. Has any developed a similar project with a successful outcome and is willing to share documentation / information?
  • 2. What measures could be used to understand success across the following themes:
  • - Patient experience
  • - Financial
  • - Capacity
  • 3. What are peoples initial thoughts regarding the project (particularly AS patients)?


  1. Hi Hollie, I'm really interested in your project - the rationale to intervene earlier for people with AS has clear benefits for both the person and the system. I think Victoria Anderson did some similar work for people with low back pain a good number of years ago and can possibly share some of the KPIs they used to measure their impact / experience. Although their group work was in person, rather than virtual so it would be great to see your project take this a step further. Vicky has now left hospital practice and set up a business but you can reach her here and I'm sure she'd be happy to help: Good luck! Aimee

    1. Hello Aimee,

      Thank you for your recent comment and interest in our idea to support AS patients through remote surveillance.

      I would be very keen to contact Victoria Anderson and gain further insight from her previous experience.

      Thank you for your help its very much appreciated.

      Many thanks


  2. Hi Hollie,

    how long have you been using WUPWOO with cancer patients? I’ve heard from fellow professionals in CAMHS that it can be a great way to help young people and am interested in whether it gets used radically differently by different ages or groups? Do you have any information on this at all? Have you seen any challenges in using this approach too?

    Thanks so much

    best wishes


    1. Hello Anna,

      Thank you for your recent comment on our proposed idea.

      We are currently using My Medical Record (MMR) to support cancer patients remotely, from this programme the feedback from patients is that they expect and want more digital solutions. This feedback has led us to investigate other programmes and applications which we think can be tailored to specific patient groups to support remote surveillance.

      The WUPWOO application is currently used for Paediatric Mental Health, however the application and development can be tailored to any patient age group / condition. Piloting the application for a different age group and condition will enable us to see just how flexible the application is and if in the future we could use one application to support many different and diverse conditions.

      I have met with the WUPWOO development team to discuss the requirements of patients with AS and feel that the application would be able to support this functionality. We would also look to incorporate a patient feedback questionnaire to understand how patients use the application and how it may be best to tailor to suit specific age groups / conditions.

      Many thanks


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