Dr Menon-Johansson - "Electronic Records Are like Black Boxes on Airplanes, They Allow You to Manage Information"




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Mar 17, 2017
by Andrea Abellan
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Dr Menon-Johansson - "Electronic Records Are like Black Boxes on Airplanes, They Allow You to Manage Information"

Fellow discusses empowering women and the use of digital health tools in his work Dr. Menon-Johansson speaking during Session 553 Toward a Shared Culture of Health: Enriching and Charting the Patient-Clinician Relationship

Dr. Anatole Menon-Johansson’s testimony is clear proof of the successful integration of digital health tools in everyday clinical activities. Menon-Johansson’s professional experience is focused on sexual and reproductive health. He puts his energy in various activities; he is the clinical director for the charity Brook, the lead of the integrated service at Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and the founder of two innovative social enterprises: SXT and SH:24.

Menon-Johansson is a passionate advocate of the possibilities technology offers to assist patients. He decided to start using digital tools a long time ago, starting a decade ago with the use of text messaging results. Through this system he sees patients getting back more promptly to reduce the spread of infections. Text messaging is now a standard practice in sexual health care, but Menon-Johansson was one of its early adopters.

The Sexual Health Clinic he leads in London became completely paper-free four yours ago. “We have all data saved in one single platform, which helps us to monitor our activities. For me electronic records are like black boxes on airplanes, they allow you to manage information properly,” he explains.

Patients can make online appointments through booking service Zesty. Their time spent in the waiting room is reduced with the digital queues that a software named Qudini enables. Patients can get registered in the reception and then leave if they want to do anything else. A text message will let them know when their time arrives. In the meantime, they can keep their position in the line. “We have digital tools involved in the whole process, since a patient books the service and waits to be seen until they get their results back by an SMS,” the doctor states.

The platform SXT.org.uk that Menon-Johansson designed, helps users to find the right service when they need to get tested for sexually transmitted infections, and if they need advice for abortion or sexual violence support. Another interesting adaption of the platform is the partner notification through which users can anonymously inform their sexual partners about a diagnosis. The sexual partners are advised on the best options to be tested. Another webiste he has helped to design, SH24.org.uk is focused on providing free testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Its functionality is easy to navigate and oriented to preserve the confidentiality of users who receives the test and the results within 72 hours.

Menon-Johansson presented his web-based emergency contraception calculator during the Salzburg Global session Toward a Shared Culture of Health: Enriching and Charting the Patient-Clinician Relationship. He says, “In the UK we have 186,000 abortions every year. We expect about 400,000 births, but we end up with 700,000. These numbers show the real disconnection between what women want and what actually happens to them.”

Thus, Menon-Johansson explains, it is important to keep raising awareness of contraception methods. He supports the use of the Intrauterine Device (IUD) with copper as one of the methods offering better results. Menon-Johansson argues, “Research proves that it’s more reliable than any other emergency contraception method. I want to make sure that women understand that there are good alternative solutions they can benefit from.”

The calculator service has a positive effect on the doctor-patient relationship too. It helps women analyze the data they have stored on their phones so they can have an idea of their risk of pregnancy and of the options they have. Menon-Johansson says, “I have real troubles when this information is not given to a woman before she meets the specialist because then she can feel under pressure to follow the doctor’s instructions and that goes against their autonomy.”

The calculator was well received by the Fellows, who provided Menon-Johansson with useful advice. Most of the suggestions were oriented toward a better promotion of the platform. Participants proposed to include advertisements in social media channels, games or dating apps seeking to reach young women who might be those facing a bigger risk. Menon-Johansson explains that one of the biggest challenges he finds when developing health care technology is convincing a still very conservative audience. He says, “I have already proved that the system I’m using works, now I want to show its potential to amplify the quality of the health care system and to support clinicians in their work.”

The calculator is currently only available in the UK, but Menon-Johansson expects this will change soon. In May, he is attending the Health 2.0 Europe conference which will take place in Barcelona and hopes this event will open the doors to the Spanish market.

Menon-Johansson says he is leaving Salzburg Global feeling richer in knowledge and is looking forward to implementing many of the suggestions fellow participants have given to him. He says, “I have enjoyed the way the seminar has evolved from exposing problems to looking for solutions. It’s always important to reflect about how to implement good ideas that can make real things happen.”

The Salzburg Global program Toward a Shared Culture of Health: Enriching and Charting the Patient-Clinician Relationship is part of the multi-year series Health and Health Care Innovation in the 21st Century. The session is being supported by OpenNotes. More information on the session can be found here: www.salzburglobal.org/go/553. You can follow all the discussions on Twitter by following the hashtag #SGShealth

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