HTN Now Awards 2021 feature: remote monitoring excellence across the UK

It’s January, which means it’s time for the HTN Now Awards 2021. Our latest instalment of the digital awards day, which recognises and celebrates innovations, teams and tech that have inspired us throughout the year, takes place from 11am on 22 January.
First up, we’ll be looking at the topic of remote monitoring, featuring comment and case studies from our ‘Excellence in Remote Monitoring’ award submissions.
The many imaginative and creative ways healthcare professionals and patients can harness technology, to stay connected outside of traditional hospital settings, has never been more important than during the COVID-19 pandemic. We realise now, more than ever, how important it is to care for people at home safely and free up hospital beds.
As we’ve already discussed this year, we expect remote monitoring to extend far beyond COVID in its impact.
In this feature, we’ll take a look at our four finalists and how they contributed to what was a huge year of growth and adoption for remote monitoring technologies.
Royal Papworth goes paperless with DataLinQ
To start with, we travel to the Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Trust in Cambridge, a leading cardiology centre, where the application of the Fysicon DataLinQ CRM is enabling implantable cardiac device monitoring to improve safety and outcomes for patients.
Clinical teams have been able to move to a paperless service, in regard to implantable cardiology devices, as the database allows patients to be monitored over time and enables assessment of performance and optimisation of battery longevity.
Fysicon UK tells us that every year a large quantity of data from implanted pacemakers and ICDs (implantable cardioverter defibrillators) is printed and saved in paper folders. In response to this, the company offers DataLinq software, which encourages hospitals to move away from manual data entry to its system, which captures the information digitally and exports it to an EMR (electronic medical record), allowing all data, electrograms and follow-ups to be collated in one location.
David Begley, Consultant Cardiologist at Royal Papworth Hospital said of the implementation: “Fysicon is a very welcome development, critical to managing our growing burden of patients with implanted cardiac devices. The seamless integration with our electronic medical record will streamline the management and monitoring of this vulnerable group of patients, by improving data integrity and reducing risk”.
Benefits of the system, which is scalable, include improved efficiency, reduction of human errors and waste, integration with other hospital systems, instant availability of information, efficient handling of advisories, compliance with mandatory national databases and secure data.
Leicestershire tries out CliniTouch Vie virtual wards
Meanwhile, over in the East Midlands, the Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (LPT) has also embraced remote monitoring, showing how quickly ‘vital clinical pathways can be reimagined through digital technology’.
The specialist community cardiorespiratory team at LPT has been using Spirit Digital’s CliniTouch Vie (CTV) since April 2020, allowing them to discharge patients from hospital and monitor them safely from their homes.
The aims of imbedding the technology in clinical pathways included: increasing teams’ capacity to deal with increased caseloads due to COVID-19, reducing face-to-face contact to minimise the risk of infection for both patients and staff, to reduce admissions through proactive care and to demonstrate ongoing sustainability and system change.
And what about the outcomes? LPT reported that the number of home visits dropped by 35.1% per patient.
But the Heart Failure and Respiratory Rehabilitation team wasn’t the only one to adopt this at LPT. The Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation programme was also given remote access and a similar project was launched to monitor symptomatic COVID-19 patients after discharge from hospital.
Reports indicate that all three applications of CTV are having success in the Trust, with Sudip Ghosh, an Associate Medical Director for LPT, adding: “The pandemic has highlighted the greatest need for us to work with our patients in novel and innovative ways. These virtual wards are an extension of our current urgent services to help build capacity and flow through our system. LPT is proud to play its part in emerging solutions for our health economy.”
Coventry and Warwickshire opt for Oxehealth on acute wards
In the neighbouring region of the West Midlands, the Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust has deployed Oxevision, a management platform from Oxehealth, on two acute wards and a psychiatric intensive care unit (PICU). This illustrates how remote monitoring can also be used within traditional hospital settings, not just in the home or community.
The system is a ‘contact-free vision-based patient and management platform’ that consists of a ‘secure optical sensor’ which is installed in patient rooms. As well as providing clinicians with cardio-respiratory vitals, the technology’s algorithms can ‘see’ movement in a similar way to the human eye, meaning it can sound alerts or record movement activity.
At PICU, the goals were to improve safety and quality of care for patients, with staff noting that having the option to monitor patients remotely assists with judgement calls about entering a room with an aggressive or unpredictable patient and escalating a situation unnecessarily.
On a male acute ward, the deputy ward manager commented, “We had a patient that was violent and aggressive. He was a danger to himself and others and we couldn’t calm him down after an initial intervention. We had to administer rapid tranquilisation. He refused to have his physical observations taken and continued to be aggressive.
“We used the system to measure his breathing rate and pulse rate remotely and monitor his behaviour to make sure he wasn’t a threat to himself, while avoiding further agitation. Having the system has been fantastic because we can make sure we are caring for the patient’s physical health and keeping the risk of harm low.
“When people are in seclusion, we can’t always get into the room to do physical health checks. The system gives us the ability to check that if they’re sleeping, their breathing and pulse rate is ok.”
Around 12 months into application, PICU recorded a 26% reduction in assaults in bedrooms and a 22% drop in self-harm in bedrooms. While the acute wards reported that, out of seven observed patients, 100% felt safer, 100% were sleeping better, and 86% had a greater sense of privacy.
Sheffield uses ADI’s TiM on MyPathway to monitor MND patients
Sheffield Teaching Hospital was already scheduled to roll out an online system to help with the remote monitoring and support of patients with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) at the end of 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
This led to the delivery of the platform being fast-tracked to protect vulnerable patients. ADI, the University of Sheffield Institute for Translational Research and the hospital worked together, using funding provided my MND Scotland, to deliver Telehealth in Motor Neurone Disease (TiM) on MyPathway.
The technology allows patients to connect with healthcare providers through either an app or web browser and for the professionals to monitor them via the results of weekly digital questionnaires, as well as using real-time data to check on progress or action interventions. Patients can also access resources on their condition, troubleshooting for medical equipment and attend virtual consultations.
An MND patient praised the impact the app has had on her quality of life, saying: “Thanks to the online system, the specialist team at Sheffield worked out that the flow on my breathing machine needed revising. I was sent a different mask and a new bit of computer hardware. Within a matter of weeks, it completely changed how I was feeling.
“It’s an hour and half each way to get to Sheffield, plus there’s the time it takes to have your appointment, whereas with the app I get sent the questionnaire and I can complete it in my own time. Before it was a long, tiring day, especially as fatigue is one of the big things I battle with, but the app makes it easy. My husband also managed to access a carer’s assessment. It’s been absolutely fantastic.”
We can’t wait to see these projects receiving recognition on 22 January. You’ll be able to view the awards presentations through our website on the day or read live Twitter updates via @health1tech.
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