COVID Recovery in Hong Kong

A Case Study

An example of how the same system, in this case the COVID Recovery Toolkit, works in different healthcare systems, sensitive to differences in language, culture and access to healthcare.
The outcomes from this case study:
Fully customised for a Hong Kong audience
The app and webapp were translated into Cantenese and all the videos were re-filmed by local healthcare professionals and university academics.
The addition of advice which incorporates Chinese Medicine was important for this audience.
Smooth and rapid development
Despite developing this across continents and considerable time differences, and with Hong Kong in COVID lockdown, development of the app and webapp was rapid and without issues.
Early adoption rates look promising
The uptake of the app and webapp have surpassed expectations for this early phase of implementation.
Data comparison between two countries
Data outputs from the app and webapp in Hong Kong are comparable to the outputs from the app in NHS Wales.
This population data has never before been compared and will give real insight into the long-term effects of a global disease such as COVID-19.

Background to the project

Following the success of the COVID Recovery App in NHS Wales (read about it here), ICST were approached by the School of Public Health in the Chinese University of Hong Kong, working in partnership with the Jockey Club, to replicate this model in the healthcare system in Hong Kong.

The bespoke Jockey Club COVID Recovery App and Webapp was developed and implemented in partnership with ICST, assisting users in working towards their recovery goals, providing teaching resources and other important information for people living with Long COVID in the community.

The journey of success:

Customising the innovation for the environment
Although ICST’s toolkits are ‘ready to go’ for a general audience, there is a process to optimise the innovation for the environment in which it is being implemented. For example in Hong Kong, the app and webapp were translated into Cantonese, and Chinese Medicine advice was added.
Establishing the teams
Identification of those who would be involved in the development of the innovations (the innovation team), the team who would oversee the governance of the process and content (the governance team) and the team that would oversee the implementation of the innovation into the system (the implementation team).
Alignment and awareness campaign
As part of ICST’s implementation methodology, the active alignment of key stakeholders, or people with influence in the system, is key to ensure that there are no barriers to implementation. In doing so, ICST supported the team in Hong Kong to reach out to all the stakeholders who might influence the uptake of the app and webapp.
Testing the toolkit
A representative sample of users were recruited to test the toolkit and make sure it was real-world compliant. The feedback from this process highlighted a few areas of improvement that we addressed before proceeding with the formal launch. 

Ongoing implementation success:

Continuous optimisation of the toolkit
Throughout the implementation, ICST monitors the uptake and engagement of the innovation, as well as survey data and feedback from the audience. The findings from this help inform further development work, ensuring that the app and webapp continue to be optimised for the audience. One such finding, suggested that users wanted to be able to sign up using social media credentials, to make it easier and quicker to sign up.
Active implementation work
During active implementation, ICST leads the implementation team towards implementation success, monitoring a whole range of proven implementation factors (we call them Enablers), to ensure that the value is realised for this implementation project.

Barriers overcome

Mobile number preference
In Hong Kong, members of the public are more likely to have a personal mobile number than a personal email address.
The app and webapp had to be adapted to accept mobile numbers during sign up.
Access to GP
In Hong Kong, an individual’s access to frontline healthcare teams is varied, so we couldn't rely on this as a mechanism to promote the app to people living with Long COVID.
Instead, there is a heavy reliance on public marketing to raise awareness of the app and webapp across Hong Kong.
International partnership
Developing a trusting relationship with our partners is important; never more so when working with partners from overseas.
ICST went above and beyond to ensure that the products and services delivered were fully optimised, as we would for all our partners.

“After seeing the value and impact of the Welsh COVID Recovery self-management app, we immediately recognised the value possible for the population of people experiencing Long COVID in Hong Kong. ICST were quickly able to adapt their innovation to make it locally relevant for our population and now we are starting to evidence the positive impact the approach is having.”

Professor Vincent Chung, Associate Professor CUHK

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“ICST have created a simple and high value system. When their innovations are created with locally relevant content, they make a real difference to the health outcomes of people in Hong Kong.”

Professor Samuel Wong, Associate Dean (Education) CUHK, Director, The Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care

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For more information, check out the COVID Recovery Toolkit product page