British Liver Trust and Gateway to Digital Tools
Patient group uses online screener as gateway to digital tools
British Liver Trust: Clinical screening tools to help identity ‘at risk’ populations can be a key part of a patient group’s digital strategy.
They can be resource-intensive to produce, relying on clinical input and review.
However, screening tools can:
- Firstly, provide a direct and personal way to raise awareness of a condition with the wider public
- Secondly, gain publicity through the media by offering the public a valuable personalised tool
- Thirdly, play a key preventative role in modifiable conditions
- Lastly, enable early patient identification and timely clinical intervention.
The British Liver Trust, use their successful ‘Love your liver’ screening tool to draw people to their site. Following on, from there it links to support and apps.
Getting people to the site
The Trust’s screener is easy to complete. It issues a clear, personalised report identifying overall level of risk of liver disease, and preventative lifestyle actions the individual can take.
As a very concrete and practical tool, the screener has been popular with the media, and as a result, more than 50,000 people have been screened to date. During the time to write this blog, around 100 more people used the screener.
The screener helps to:
- drive traffic to the Trust’s website
- raise awareness of their ‘Love your liver’ publicity and outreach campaign
- promote uptake of Spruce, the group’s alcohol reduction app that can be linked to from the person’s report.
Balancing the detail
Writing screening tools is about balancing conflicting needs. Clinical accuracy depends on breadth and depth of science. Usability depends on the person completing the screener in minutes, but still getting a meaningful report. Plain language has to be balanced against the need to be very specific.
It’s quite an art. The ‘Love your liver’ screener from the British Liver Trust is comprehensive, evaluating areas of risk from alcohol consumption, diet and health, drug use and risks of viral hepatitis.
Sometimes screeners stop at this point – they profile the risk but leave the person in the ‘lurch’. The report in the ‘Love your liver’ is very much geared towards preventative action, and signposting the user to other resources, including the group’s own app.
As the introduction to the screener states:
“Liver disease usually has no symptoms in the early stages and around three quarters of people are currently diagnosed when it is too late for effective treatment or intervention. 90% of liver disease is preventable. Finding out if you’re at risk of liver disease only takes a few minutes. It could be the most important thing you do today.” – British Liver Trust
Putting screeners at the heart of digital strategy
Because screeners are largely about helping people to profile their own risk of a condition, they often may be the first contact between individuals and the patient group.
Therefore they are not only a key entry point and channel, but also, as with the British Liver Trust, they can be a shop-window to link to other support and services from the group.
Pharmaceutical companies have a good track record in supporting patient group screening projects, because they have a clearly defined, practical output, and meet shared agendas such as patient identification and earlier clinical intervention.
As with any clinical screener, decision aid, or diagnostic tool, specialised expertise is needed to make sure the tool is up to date and accurate. However, effective use of screeners can benefit all stakeholders from patients, to patient groups, clinicians, healthcare providers and the pharma industry.
Review the liver risk screening tool at…
Read an overview of the Spruce app, helping people to reduce how much they drink at myhealthapps.net
Download the Spruce app at…