By Andrea McBride, Rheumatology Nurse Specialist, The Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, NHS Lothian and Sarah Woodhead, Director of Jones & Jones Media. Arthur’s Place (http://arthursplace.co.uk)
What is Arthur’s Place?
Arthur’s Place is a digital magazine and social network for young people with arthritis, aged 18-35, in the UK. It’s goal is to help this group thrive in life, be active in their own care, and to relieve pain, worry and isolation through information and community.
As part of our application, we would invite you to visit http://arthursplace.co.uk, to experience our project for yourself, and to view our supporting presentation. We hope you will see how innovative and creative we have been in launching this totally new way of sharing patient information with this digitally savvy group. Critically, this digital delivery of services, with social media at its core, also demonstrates ‘future-proofing’ information distribution for the ‘totally tech’ generation of children with arthritis behind them.
What makes Arthur’s Place different?
- Its primary focus is lifestyle advice in the form of magazine articles, photo galleries and video, in categories not normally found on NHS sites, but keenly needed by this patient group; such as Relationships, Home life, Work & Study, Fashion & Beauty. Content is updated at least once a week to keep its readership engaged and active in their care.
- It is a multi-platform solution – as well as Arthursplace.co.uk, it has a constantly updated presence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Spotify. YouTube to follow. So, it has reach, relevance and ‘coolness’ for young people.
- It has a second goal of bringing together professionals in rheumatology. Hospitals, clinics, charities and other relevant organisations can create profiles in our Community space, and provide links to their own patient information. Professionals can also join and create public or private groups to share best practice.
- Uniquely, we worked with a lifestyle digital media agency to create Arthur’s Place, and involved young, talented writers and photographers with arthritis from the outset.
- It’s supported by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists and the College of Occupational Therapy, representatives of whom are part of a behind-the-scenes advisory group, to ensure we focus our content appropriately.
- It’s not linked to any one organisation, so is free to harvest the best information and tools available for the benefit of this patient group.
- It has an exceptional design, with a cutting edge swipe and filter function, making it easy to use and desirable to engage with. Put simply, it’s very cool.
Key benefits to patients:
We believe Arthur’s Place has the potential to significantly benefit young patients’ physical and mental health, as well as bring practical benefits on a day-to-day basis:
- Always there information and community, beyond the hospital hours, on tablet, smart phone and desktop. We could not provide this any other way.
- Digital distribution of services under pressure: as well as lifestyle advice and arthritis facts, we are able to provide more physiotherapy, occupational therapy and mental health support to more patients through expert content, photo galleries, videos and audio download. This is a key motivation for the project as clinics UK-wide will testify that resources are stretched and patients are finding it harder to access these services and are waiting longer for them. This will be a chief focus for us in 2014.
- Content is tightly focused on the reality of life outside of the hospital for this age group, a group that can often get ‘lost’, with the focus more typically going to paediatric care or older patients.
- Acts as a hub for the best patient tools available – drawing together calculators, disease monitoring tools and Apps, such as Arthritis ID, Patient Passport, DAS 28 and NHS24 MSK. Our goal is to make it much easier for patients to be active in their own care. We believe this feeling of control has the potential to significantly improve self-esteem, relieve depression and anxiety and improve patient outcomes.
- Peer-to-peer support. This condition can be very isolating and frightening for young people, and Arthur’s Place reassures them that they are not alone, and they can feel positive about their future. “I’ve never felt so not alone my whole life,” says one community member.
- Whether it’s our links to uplifting videos, compiled by the Huffington Post, our Spotify Playlists curated by the music gurus at PRS, or our overall youthful and upbeat tone, Arthur’s Place is cool, funny, quirky, stylish and has a warmth, an inclusiveness and a feel-good factor. It is designed to be a daily boost to the self-esteem. With recent studies showing that levels of depression are higher for RA patients than recorded previously, and the impact this has on perception of treatment effectiveness, it is crucial to invest in supporting the mental health of patients.
How did Arthur’s Place happen?
Arthur’s Place is the vision of Rheumatology Nurse Specialist Andrea McBride. Nurse McBride found the partner media agency, Jones & Jones Media, set out the project goals, defined the content mix, and raised the funding.
Is it working?
It is very early days, but the feedback so far is outstanding. We have had great feedback from patients, as well as Rheumatology Consultants, physios, nurses, and other professionals. “At last! A positive, upbeat source of inspiration and education for young arthritis suffers. Much love to @ArthursPlaceUK” says arthritis sufferer Simona Mary Murphy on Twitter.Please search for @arthursplaceUK on Twitter to see more endorsements.
Demonstration of the sustainability of the project
Arthur’s Place has enough finance secured to establish the website while raising stage 2 funds. Our most vital job now is to spread the word about the project to as many health professionals and young people as possible.
Demonstration of patient involvement
We surveyed patients before the project started to evaluate the need and ask for opinions on what type of content would be useful. We hunted social media to find the ‘influential’ patient voices, and involved them the whole way through the year-long development phase. Patients are part of our editorial team, and will help shape our content strategy going forward. Any young person with arthritis can create their own content on arthursplace.co.uk, in our community space, by creating profiles, forums, groups, instant messages and linking out to their own blogs.
We will measure our outcomes by visitor figures, pages viewed, dwell time, community activity, social media engagement, registrations and feedback from members. As we are currently less than one month old we are unable to provide figures at this time.
As part of our application you may like to also visit the links below:
Our homepage: http://arthursplace.co.uk
Our Life Hacks section: http://arthursplace.co.uk/life/
Our Facts section: http://arthursplace.co.uk/facts/
Our Community: http://arthursplace.co.uk/community/
Potential for professional networks: http://arthursplace.co.uk/community/groups/the-professionals/
Example lifestyle support: http://arthursplace.co.uk/life/work-study/2014/01/01/work-survival-guide/
Example physio support: http://arthursplace.co.uk/life/diet-exercise/2013/12/09/physio-video-knees/
Example mental health support: http://arthursplace.co.uk/life/health-happiness/2013/12/13/diagnosis-of-arthritis-blues/