The online community joined up with health professionals and members of the public to take part in a conference to help empower people who use NHS services.
The two day People in Control conference held at the North Lakes Hotel, Penrith was attended by more than 100 people each day – and a further 550 watched the speakers and workshops online and joined the conversation via twitter.
The event was organised by Cumbria Learning and Improvement Collaborative (CLIC) and attracted national speakers including the Head of Patient Experience for NHS England, Kath Evans, Medical Director at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust, Dr Umesh Prabhu and Chief of Service Transformation, NHS Improving Quality, Dr Helen Bevan.
The conference was also attended by members of the public, patients with long term conditions and representatives of health charities.
The conference was the inspiration of Cumbrian GP, Dr Muhammad Farhan Amin who has developed an online community, Patient Memoirs, to help patients help each other understand their health conditions.
And the Patient Memoirs website also hosted the conference live via video link to enable more than 250 people each day who could not attend to take part in the event.
The aim of the project is to encourage people to educate each other that will empower them in leading a healthy and happy life.
Professor Stephen Singleton, Clinical Director of Innovation for NHS Cumbria CCG and Lead for CLIC said: “Most health and social care staff think of themselves as good listeners – and most are sure they put the people who use their services at the centre of what they do – yet when we really listen we hear, amongst all the good things, a very familiar tale of struggle, misunderstanding, mysterious jargon, broken systems and frustration as patients and carers try to find a way through to what they need.
“This conference was just a start in the how we want things to be different. We want to use technology to help fair access to knowledge and services; we want to train staff to listen more and truly hear what people want; we want to involve people in genuine dialogue about how services should work. It’s good to talk. It is good to listen.”
Dr Amin said: “It is our belief that every patient has a unique life story which can inspire us all. My website allows patients around the world to share their life stories with their fellow patients via videos. Evidence indicates that empowering patients to discuss their conditions, problems and solutions with their peers has positive effects on their quality of life. It is our belief that this approach also has therapeutic benefits. Our long term goal is to create a meeting point where patients, healthcare professionals and care givers can come together to share their life stories, helpful tips and new insights to inspire each other to solve health related problems big and small. Join us and be a part of our community. All the videos are monitored before going live and we have guidelines to help people make their recordings. I hope my colleagues and their patients across Cumbria find this a useful resource.”
To find out more about Patient Memoirs, to watch videos about your condition or to upload your own clips visit www.patientmemoirs.com