Barts Health NHS Trust has rolled out a new app to help improve support for people with cognitive impairment.

The trust partnered with UCLPartners to work with software developers Maldaba to develop the app, Hear Me Now.

The app was designed with people with cognitive disabilities in mind, to help improve the quality of their care. It was launched alongside an associated content-sharing remote web service, which together aims to improve how well, and how quickly, an individual’s needs are understood, in order to save time spent in their appointments.

Additionally communication between patients and clinical staff is enhanced, enabling more joined-up care between clinical services.

Elias Zapantis, deputy head of commercial and innovation at UCLPartners, said: Our role is to support innovative health technologies on their path to adoption and scale up into the NHS. We were keen to support the implementation of Maldaba’s app as it is both an empowering tool for patients with cognitive disabilities and helps improve doctor-patient communication.”

Hear Me Now can be used by patients on their own or with the support of their carer or family. Information is recorded in word, photo, audio or video format and then stored in easily-organised ‘boxes’. The internet-based sharing platform then allows the information to be shared with clinical teams and carers.

The app was used to support nearly 40 patients at the Royal London Hospital between May 2019 and January 2021, in a pilot project. Of the 30 patients who provided feedback the majority said they found it easy to use and helpful.

Dr Richard Fitzgerald, academic clinical fellow in special care dentistry at Barts Health, who co-led the pilot, said: “It was quite clear through the interviews with participants and their families that the Hear Me Now app was well-liked and effective. One of the most interesting findings for me were that family members reported a feeling of reassurance that all medical information was in one place if it was needed for emergencies.”

Lorenzo Gordon, co-founder of Maldaba, added: “This research at Barts Health NHS Trust has helped show that Hear Me Now is easy to use and improves communications between patients and professionals across sectors and parts of the health and care system. We are looking forward to using the insight gained from this project to develop Hear Me Now further and to work with other NHS partners to enable new ways of delivering support within the healthcare system for people with learning disabilities.”

It’s not the first time an app has been used to help with the care of people who are cognitively impaired, previously Maldaba worked with Humber NHS Foundation Trust to develop something similar.