A patient story: What is it like to use The Rotherham Health App?

We hear directly from Emily Croker, a patient using the Rotherham Health app who talks about her experiences using the app to help her manage her ongoing health with annual reviews, regular medications and blood tests.

Tell us about yourself

Emily Croker, 39 year old. Six years ago I had to have an operation to have my thyroid removed, which means I now have to have an annual review of my health, regular medication and blood tests. I’m a busy mum of 3 young children and teach outside of the Rotherham area, which means fitting in time to contact the GP practice is hard, as I set off before the practice is open and when I get back from work I need to see to the kids. By the time I sit down the practice is closed. This means I have to ring when I get breaks. Often the phone just rang out meaning I had to call back quite a few times before getting a response.

My husband is self-employed and often I would have to take the children with me to my appointments which, with 3 young children was a nightmare. They run around and distract everyone, and I don’t feel I got quality time with the clinician as we were rushing to get thought it so I can get the children home.

Rotherham Health app

What made you download the Rotherham Health App?

When I heard about the Rotherham Health App, it sounded too good to be true, being able to book appointments in the practice without ringing, and order my medication seemed to really address the issues I was experiencing. I was also told about being able to use the app on behalf of my kids, which was another reason I wanted to use it.

Is it easy to sign up and use?

I’d tried other health apps – but found it really difficult to use so wasn’t holding much hope for this one. However, it was really easy to down load and only took a few minutes. I had to visit the practice to show my details, which I could understand to make sure it was me who was requesting it, and then within a few days I was signed up. I also like that you get a code to type in when you log on like you do with online bank- ing – if it’s good for online banking – then it’s good for me. Once you are signed up its really easy to use, you don’t have to be a technical whizz to use it, everything is easily listed and all you need is on the main page, you don’t have to go through lists of options or screens first to be able to get to where you need. I tend to use it on my phone, but I know I can also use it on the computer if I needed to.

How has the app benefitted you and your family?

The app has really changed how we access care in my family. I feel the biggest things is it gives me better control over my health, as I can see when my annual reviews are coming up and book in when I need to – even on an evening and weekend! If I hadn’t got the app I don’t think Id have known about the extended access evening and weekend appointments.

I‘m no longer wasting time waiting on the phone, I can just log on to the app and because the app tell you what each clinician can do you can make sure you book into the right person straight away. Previously I’ve booked in with a GP, but now I know I could have seen An ANP for some things and I’ve also ordered my blood tests via the app when they are due too. I’m able to see all the appoint- ments and then book around what is continent to me too. Being a teacher and working away from Rotherham, assessing service was difficult. Having this kind of flexibility makes me feel much more in control of how I access the practice and mange my condition.

It’s great not having to drag the children with me and I can book on days when my husband is not at work, or when my family can have the children.

On a weekend I’ve found the symptom checker useful too, as I’ve been able to check the children’s symptoms. Most of the time, I just need self-care and feel reassured – normally I think I might have tried to book an appointment, which would have wasted an appointment. But, if I did need to book an appointment for one of them being able to use the app for this is great. I couldn’t do this from the other health app.

I also find ordering my repeat prescriptions so much easier. I know when they are due and I just click order and pick it up from the pharmacy when it’s ready. I don’t even need to contact the practice.

I haven’t used it but from the app you can access other services too. Like physio. There’s a list of what they can see and instead of seeing the GP you can book straight in.

Sometimes when we have to complete medical information on school forms, with three children it’s hard to remember all the dates. The App means I’ve got all the information to hand when I need it.

What are the top three things you like about the app?

  • Easy to use and less time wasted on the phone to the practice
  • Booking appointments and repeat medications
  • Being able to look up the children’s vac and imms – I always forget!

What would you say to anyone thinking about downloading the app?
Do it! It will save you loads of time in phoning and waiting; you get access to a variety of services straight away and have access to appointments at weekends too.

The Rotherham Health App