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Royal Berkshire NHS uses avatar to support kidney patients


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust has completed a year-long pilot using an avatar to provide information to people with chronic kidney disease (CKD).

It is now aiming to extend the use of the technology with plans to add information on acute kidney injury (AKI) and translations, along with cultural adaptations, into Nepalese, Urdu, Punjabi and Polish.

The programme, which began in July of last year, was created by digital health information specialist Cognitant, with the content built collaboratively by the company and the trust’s renal team.

It has been run on the firm’s Healthinote platform via a QR code or hyperlink for patients to watch on their smartphones.

Feedback from users has shown that 100% found it easy to find and understand the information, and 96% reported that they knew more about CKD after using the programme.

This contrasts with the findings of research published in Perspectives on Medical Education showing that 40-60% of patients could not correctly report what their doctors expected of them 10-80 minutes after being provided with information.


Dr Emma Vaux, consultant nephrologist and physician at Royal Berkshire, said: “This pilot was incredibly insightful for us as we had the opportunity to really explore how people consume health information and whether they would accept the digital delivery of this information.

“We chose CKD as it was one of our biggest patient cohorts. Being able to reinforce patient information given, and more importantly for patients, to have a range of ways to access information at their fingertips, and revisit it when they want to, is transformational.

“Our vision, through the programme, is to improve patient experience, enable them to be well informed, both in their self-care and avoidance of complications, as well as ultimately delaying CKD progression. We are really pleased by the feedback so far. We are excited to continue to demonstrate the benefits of the programme across the wider community and the whole health and care system.”

The pilot was funded with £30,000 from the Q Exchange programme, supported by the Health Foundation, NHS England and NHS Improvement.

Image from Cognitant

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