RCGP Conference: Use of a menopause app to improve shared decision making in consultations
This month saw the return of the RCGP conference in London and an academic poster presented recent findings showing the use of the free balance menopause support app improved shared decision-making during consultations.
Founder of NHMS, Dr Louise Newson, supported by Dr Rebecca Lewis, NHMS Director, Lucy Chatwin and Gaele Lalahy, COO of balance Ltd. presented a poster at the conference this week, based on recent online surveys to thousands of women.
The free balance app was developed to empower women with evidence-based information about the symptoms and also the treatment choices of both the perimenopause and the menopause. Currently the minority of menopausal women (around 14% in the UK) receive HRT and women from lower socioeconomic groups are even less likely to be prescribed HRT.
A survey was compiled and sent to app users via a direct email. This survey included questions about how the app has helped them feel both mentally and physically, how it has enabled them to receive the treatment that they wanted and whether they feel the app has enabled them to receive treatment faster than they would have done before using it.
Results showed out of the 1062 people that responded, the vast majority, 90.2%, stated that using the app had empowered them with knowledge and understanding of the perimenopause and menopause. Less than one month of using the app resulted in 60% of users being able to self-diagnose that their symptoms were related to their perimenopause or menopause; this increased to 85.2% after using the app for at least 5 months. 65% of women stated that using the app had enabled them to access the right treatment faster for their symptoms and 63.6% believed that using the app has reduced the number of appointments they needed with a healthcare professional.
Many users found that their mental health improved – the proportion increased (to 62%) with duration of time using the app. The majority of respondents (69%) had started HRT treatment since using the app.
The authors concluded:
“In the UK, the majority of women are missing out from taking evidence based treatments which will improve symptoms as well as future health. This survey has shown that using the free menopause app balance enables women become more empowered with accurate information which then gives them confidence to seek help for their symptoms. Women using this app are more likely to receive the right treatments more promptly which then leads to an improvement of symptoms as well as future health. Use of this free app should be encouraged to reduce suffering, enable women to receive treatment quickly as well as reduce waste of unnecessary appointments for healthcare professionals.”