‘Foster’ is here: specifically designed to aid self-management of chronic health conditions.
South Africa – Foster is an easy to use, accessible chatbot, which developers Foster Health (Pty) Ltd need you to help test and improve.
Patients often experience brief diagnostic and follow-up consultations with doctors that are separated by many days, weeks and even months. This is when the majority of healing happens. But about 50% of people living with chronic conditions abandon their treatments for various reasons during this period. Contributory factors include side- effects, poor condition education, unrealistic treatment expectations, low adherence motivation and simple forgetfulness.
“Doctors need a mechanism to help patients after they have left our rooms – something that lets them know that we do care about their well-being and want to provide practical assistance and education in a relevant form in their daily lives”, says Oxford University primary care academic and Foster’s medical advisor, Dr Alexander Finlayson.
Ideally, every patient would leave their diagnostic consultation and be received by a bespoke team of experts – all on hand 24/7 to support and optimise their recovery and treatment outcomes. But this is simply not financially or practically possible.
But it is digitally possible.
Foster Health believes that health conversations matter. It is difficult to manage a chronic condition alone. This is why Foster was developed. Foster is a digital companion which provides daily interaction to help:
- minimise treatment deviance
- track condition progression
- raise condition and lifestyle literacy
- improve clinical outcomes
Clinical research recognises the power of daily interaction, and Foster Health has now built a prototype to test this in the real world.
Foster will eventually cover multiple chronic conditions, while this prototype and proof of concept are focused on depression.
If you have been diagnosed with depression (Major Depressive Episode or Major Depressive Disorder), are over 18 and would like to participate in this non-clinical, confidential trial, please scan the QR code with your smartphone; email firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit www.hellofoster.life to find out more.
“Patients are people, not diseases. And while technology cannot replace an empathic conversation with a medical professional, it can help during the days, weeks and months when you are managing your condition between visits with your doctor”, Richard Hawkey, Foster Health founder.