Secondary Care

Tech benefits Norfolk Community to reduce A&E admissions

Norfolk Community Health and Care Trust has reported a reduction in A&E admissions and bed days among a group of high-dependency patients following the introduction of a new remote-monitoring service from InHealthcare for people living with heart and lung disease.

The Trust allows users to check their vital signs at home and was designed to improve quality of life for patients and free up hospital beds and surgery time. The technology enables clinicians to monitor trends and intervene if readings move outside individual thresholds. It encourages patients to recognise changing symptoms and promotes self-management of their conditions.

The remote monitoring complements the work of the trust’s heart failure team which attends to patients in clinic, at home and via telephone consultation.

Analysis by the trust of the six months before and after the introduction of the service has revealed that accident and emergency admissions have reduced and GP visits have reduced. The analysis also showed a similar trend for patients who stayed on the normal service, suggesting that nurses were able to spend more time with patients who needed care the most.

The self-testing service is for patients who have recently experienced heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and need to be monitored to ensure their vital signs are within safe range. They are given a medical device and training to monitor their vital signs at home. These include blood pressure, temperature, weight, pulse rate and oxygen saturation.

The patient then sends the readings to clinicians via an online submission form or automated telephone service, depending on how confident they feel using technology.