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Virtual wards created for remote monitoring of COVID-19 patients

Virtual wards created for remote monitoring of COVID-19 patients

British digital health company Huma is working with NHSX to provide remote monitoring for COVID-19 patients who are at-home, in quarantine, or self-isolating.

Developed with leading international clinicians and academics, Huma has worked with NHSX and local NHS organisations to configure and trial its Medopad COVID-19 remote patient monitoring (RPM) platform in six sites to help support the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

A number of NHS sites are now working with Huma’s solution to support Virtual Wards to monitor and care for patients. Medopad enables the exchange of health data and information between patients and their NHS care team. Healthcare teams can monitor a patient’s symptoms to advise on appropriate care and early intervention, staying informed of symptoms and being alerted to disease progression that could avoid further complications or prompt a diagnostic procedure or a visit from a clinician or a visit to hospital – if needed.

Tara Donnelly, chief digital officer, NHSX said: “This is a great example of how new technology is supporting healthcare professionals to provide the right care at the right time. With COVID-19, it’s vital that we make use of digital tools that can help support patients who don’t need immediate hospital care and allow close monitoring of their condition.  

“The feedback we are getting from patients is that the remote monitoring with clinical oversight is really reassuring to them, and they are grateful to be at home while they recover, rather than in a hospital bed. The clinical team is finding it helps give them very rapid feedback on their patients and they are able to keep an eye on a number of people at a glance, which is working much better for them than the previous system which relied on phone calls.”

The COVID-19 remote monitoring trial phase started in London and Hertfordshire in both primary and secondary care settings to support patients with COVID-19 symptoms. 

The initial projects were:

  • Watford General Hospital, part of West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, is using the COVID-19 RPM solution for patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 symptoms via a ‘Virtual Ward’ to support COVID-19 patients who have been discharged from hospital and also to avoid admissions whose care can be safely managed in their own homes.
  • North West London trial is in two primary care led ‘hot-hubs’ in Hillingdon and Soho. These ‘hot-hubs’ provide at-scale triage from general practice and 111 for patients who are deemed to require ongoing monitoring of COVID-19 symptoms and has extended to services in Harrow and Ealing.

Dr. Matthew Knight, respiratory consultant at Watford General Hospital, said: “Our teams are working to provide the best care for patients with COVID-19 symptoms around the clock. To provide the best patient care and outcomes, protect the NHS and prevent community spread, the remote patient monitoring offers a promising solution to help us scale our efforts to the growing needs of our community.”

Tony Willis, clinical director for diabetes at North West London Collaboration of CCGs, added: “Patients with suspected COVID-19 can deteriorate in a matter of hours. That’s why it’s vital that clinicians can track their symptoms and vital signs regularly so that they can intervene if there is significant deterioration. But patients do not have to be at the hospital or clinic all the time and this new solution means we can capture patient health data frequently enough to take timely action while the patient is in the comfort of their own home.”

Within weeks, teams from the three initial sites, NHSX and Huma went from concept and ideation to implementation, collaboratively developing several iterations of the app to meet local requirements and work across systems. Huma’s team needed eight days to create the tech requirements to get up and running, configuring modules (such as patient questionnaires and symptom tracking) and user flows with clinicians at the trial sites to customise clinical pathways. Healthcare practitioners at the local sites were trained on using the Medopad solution on 17 of April and the project has since been rolling out to patients. 

Dan Vahdat, founder and CEO of Huma said: “As a British company, we can think of no greater honour than being part of this pilot that is helping three NHS trial sites respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in this hour of need. We are proud to use the learnings we’ve developed with our NHS partners to provide care for many COVID-19 patients to help people support the NHS and save lives.”

Med-Tech Innovation

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