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Wellbeing app provides channel for hospital staff

Thursday, 27 February 2020  
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Return to home page editor Rebecca McBeth


Waitematā and Auckland DHBs are using the Chnnl app to listen and respond to staff wellbeing.


The app allows staff to self-report their wellbeing on a daily basis and connects them with relevant information and support services.


Users can also write a journal entry or anonymously report things such as bullying and harassment.


Waitematā DHB started using the app in November for its new cohort of first-year house officers and will evaluate the project after one year.


WDHB clinical education and training unit manager Naomi Heap says 15 of the 60 graduates are using the app on a daily basis.


“It’s been great for us as although we can’t see data at an individual level, we can see themes and how people are tracking and we can do whole cohort responses,” says Heap.


In response to new doctors experiencing anxiety around the death or steep decline of a patient, the DHB held a workshop on how to look after themselves in these situations.


Another theme was anxiety around professional progress and living up to expectations so the DHB brought in a senior doctor to speak about his own experience of stepping up from being a registrar to a senior medical officer.


“We saw a real reaction from them in that session,” she says.


“We are hoping more will sign up as they start to see us responding to things they are raising.


“At this stage we are feeling positive about it. There’s the potential to expand it across the DHB, but that’s a much bigger conversation,” Heap explains.


Chnnl founder and chief executive Elizabeth Berryman says the app has also been launched in Auckland City Hospital emergency department and Starship Hospital.


Up to 500 staff are being offered the opportunity to download the app and be involved, including clinical, clerical, orderlies and healthcare assistants.


This two-year research project with Auckland DHB is being overseen by the University of Auckland. The university has put Chnnl on its commercialisation pathway.


Berryman presented on the development of the app, previously called Particip8, at the HiNZ Conference 2019 in Hamilton as part of the eMental Health stream.


She told the audience that health professionals’ wellbeing has become a topical subject, with recent surveys revealing high rates of bullying and harassment in the sector.


The app was used in a research study done at Counties Manukau Health where it was offered to RMOs and graduate nurses to see if it could help improve awareness and wellbeing.


She says the team used an ‘active research’ methodology to develop Chnnl, adding things like a ‘boosters’ section that houses all an organisation’s policies and offerings to do with wellbeing.


Data showed that staff wellbeing was improved by people doing sports or exercise and receiving constructive feedback and decreased when people were being bullied or feeling tired and short staffed.


Participants reported that the app improved their awareness of their own wellbeing and they were able to complete daily responses in less than one minute.


Berryman tells that “when it comes to mental health it’s really important to not get it wrong.


“It’s really good that the whole health community has rallied behind this and we’ve had expert advice from legal and psychiatry, so I’m really excited to finally get to a place where we can launch and I know it can make a real difference,” she says.


If you would like to provide feedback on this news story, please contact the editor Rebecca McBeth.


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