Lackey Clinic, a free and charitable healthcare center, is partnering with Generated Health, which will allow the Clinic to add an innovative messaging system designed to empower patients and improve clinical outcomes. The service, called Florence or “Flo,” is a digital health coach that engages and helps ensure patients follow their care plans as prescribed by the Clinic’s primary care physicians. Flo has been used across the UK and Australia, as well as the Veterans Health Administration, where it has proven to effectively communicate with patients and facilitate their active participation in their care and their health. Flo has been shown to improve health outcomes and reduce urgent care needs and the work of the healthcare team.
“We are committed to greater investment in technology to engage patients, drive positive lifestyle change, and improve health outcomes,” said Larry Trumbore, Lackey Clinic’s CEO. Flo is extremely easy to implement since it does not require patients to download an app or even have access to broadband. Instead, the patients simply receive text messages on their cell phones from Flo asking them about their blood pressure and glucose levels. The patients text back their readings and receive instant feedback from Flo that aligns with their care plan and improves self-management. Flo is available for the Clinic’s English and Spanish-speaking patients, and the patients’ data is stored securely and is readily accessible to Lackey Clinic’s care team. Automated alerts from Flo notify the Clinic’s nurses when additional attention is needed. “Our clinical team truly does an excellent job,” said Dr. Jill Cottel, Lackey Clinic’s Medical Director, “and yet it can be difficult (and at times frustrating) to successfully engage patients and see significant clinical outcomes. Flo will help our patients do more for their healthcare.”
By integrating Flo into its care workflows, Lackey Clinic expects it will have a significant impact on diagnosing new conditions, improving how the Clinic addresses acute episodes and even reducing unnecessary emergency visits. “We know our patients can face more life-impacting challenges than most,” said Cottel. “Many of our patients are working two or more jobs, unable to rely on transportation or afford to take time off from work. From a health perspective, our patients often deal with multiple chronic conditions and have health needs that are not easy to coordinate and reconciliate.”
The Clinic will pilot a cohort of 25 hypertension patients with the goal to increase to 200 patients by the end of August. The Clinic also plans to extend the use of Flo for its patients with diabetes and will continue to work with its clinical team, volunteers, and pre-medical students from local colleges to develop its Connected Care program, assess Social Determinants of Health, and provide health education tailored to its patients’ needs.
About Lackey Clinic: Lackey Clinic was co-founded in 1995 by Dr. Jim Shaw and his wife, Cooka, as they responded to God’s calling to serve “the least of these” (Matthew 25:40). The Clinic is a faith-based nonprofit providing free and charitable healthcare to uninsured adults in Virginia. The Clinic’s patients are the working class usually earning between $10-$25 an hour who earn too much to qualify for Virginia Medicaid but not enough to afford quality health insurance. The Clinic offers free medical care, dental care, eye care, virtual urgent care, free and low-cost prescriptions, behavioral health services, diabetic education, and spiritual care. For more information, please visit: lackeyclinic.org