Chris Netherton

Chris Netherton

Managing Director, Microtest

The work that we do to support hub and spoke clinics has led to some fascinating findings regarding the impact of group support on the healing process.

One of our flagship products is Microtest Guru, the most advanced patient record sharing system in the UK. Guru enables medical professionals to access a live patient record while they are away from the surgery; for example, when helping to run a community clinic.

These types of hub and spoke clinics have become much more widespread and one area where they have proved particularly useful is in the treatment of leg ulcers. The group that suffers the most from leg ulcers is the elderly, and many people would naturally assume that these patients would prefer the convenience of a home visit from a district nurse, rather than having to attend a community clinic.

However, a home visit may not achieve the best result for the patient.

While the treatment methods in both settings are identical, it has been found that there is a real benefit to be derived from the feeling of support and togetherness that sufferers experience when they are in a group of people who are also dealing with the same issues and symptoms. The simple human element of being able to have a cup of tea and a chat with fellow sufferers can have a profound effect on the effectiveness of their treatment and on their speed of recovery.

It was fascinating to see that this effect was borne out by a study on leg ulcer treatment that was conducted in Australia. To quote from their findings:

“…patients were randomised to either the Lindsay Leg Club® model of care, or the traditional community nursing model, consisting of individual home visits by a registered nurse. Participants who received care under the leg club model had better ulcer healing outcomes, as well as benefits in terms of pain, quality of life, self esteem and functional ability.”

I think this quote shows one of the key dynamics at work here, when it uses the phrase ‘self esteem.’ Isolation is a growing problem for our elderly citizens. Combining specialised treatment with a social, supportive atmosphere and enabling patients to form relationships with others who are on exactly the same journey must be hugely motivating.

I am really excited to see where this new movement towards more holistic healing will take us in the future. At Microtest, we are looking forward to continuing to create innovative IT solutions that help to facilitate these advances in the quality of patient care.


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