North West Anglia NHS launch virtual respiratory ward

North West Anglia NHS FT has launched a ‘virtual respiratory ward’, to support ‘stepdown discharge’ for COVID-19 patients.

The initiative will see patients supported at home, through Spirit Health’s CliniTouch Vie technology, where hospital teams at the trust can monitor patients remotely.

By offering the service, the trust hopes to free up 40 beds, across its two hospitals sites. Once patients are admitted to the virtual ward, they complete a questionnaire and submit vital sign measurements daily. The system automatically analyses the data and generates a risk-scored list of prioritised actions, enabling clinicians to intervene and provide urgent care where required.

Dr Robert Buttery, Consultant in Respiratory at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, said: “Empowering and enabling patients to complete their recovery in their own homes represents a significant development in how we deliver healthcare. It is likely we will see this model roll out to a number of healthcare conditions.”

Spirit Health added: The technology is designed to offer stepdown discharge to COVID-19 patients with stable or recovering respiratory function, whose care needs can be met at home. Using remote monitoring, the hospitals’ clinical teams can oversee their patients’ recovery and monitor for signs of deterioration after discharge.

“Patients in the virtual ward will be monitored seven days a week, with Spirit’s in-house clinical team supporting with an interim weekend monitoring service to ensure continuity of patient care.”

The technology is also currently being used for a COVID-19 virtual ward at the Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, which has supported over 300 patients to date.

To explore the topic further, HTN recently interviewed Noel O’Kelly, Clinical Director at Spirit Health, who shared with us many examples of remote monitoring and his tips for implementing remote monitoring within pathways.