The weather can greatly impact people’s health and their ability to stay well. During frigid temperatures, there is an influx of the flu, flare ups of arthritis, as well as increased difficulty for sufferers of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). COPD patients are most at risk during the winter months.
Typically, people affected by the weather would suffer with the unfavorable consequences as the bad weather started to creep in. But one government organization is taking a more proactive approach and helping patients ensure they have “healthy outcomes” and stay well.
The Met Office, the UK’s national weather service, launched Healthy Outlook®, which is a preventative service to help those afflicted with COPD.
The service helps sufferers by providing forecast alerts during times of increased vulnerability due to the weather. Those with COPD often feel a direct impact from the weather and can potentially be exposed to numerous viruses, exacerbating the situation.
The alerts notify patients of upcoming weather conditions and ensures that they get the treatment and medicine they need. The way it works is, general practitioners subscribe to the service and receive email notifications when the weather poses a risk to COPD sufferers. The general practitioners then follow-up with patients via an automated call — patients can then state if they need more medication or follow-up services.
So far, the service has been a hit and patients really value the service. Not only that, but the data has proven the service to be an effective way to lower incidents for those with COPD. Since the service launched, there has been a 20% reduction in COPD related operations.
This is a beautiful example of how a weather strategy can have a direct impact on people’s lives, for the better. Healthy Outlook® is taking a proactive, rather than reactive approach to weather and illness and the patients are the ones experiencing all of the benefits.