Sussex Health and Care remote monitoring evaluation for COVID published

An NHS evaluation has found that remote monitoring provided a “safe and effective” route for managing COVID patients at home.

Sussex Health and Care’s Oximetry @ Home service, set up with Inhealthcare for high-risk and clinically vulnerable patients, “minimised contact for positive cases and significantly reduced demand on alternative services”, the evaluation found.

Through the service, patients were monitored three times a day using a pulse oximeter. Clinical questions were sent by text, email or telephone. The evaluation found that flexible contact methods worked well for patients with learning difficulties, sensory impairment and mental health conditions, or those who did not have English as a first language. Overall a fifth of patients chose to communicate via telephone, underlining the importance of offering a range of contact methods. Patient feedback was “overwhelmingly positive”, with 99 percent reporting “very good” or “good” experiences.

440 emergency attendances, 750 GP visits and 1,150 calls to 111 are estimated to have been saved according to the ICS evaluation.

The NHS evaluation was based on patient survey data, GP survey data, service data and metrics, feedback from GP federations and alliances, and COVID admissions data.

Sussex Health and Care have commented that learnings from the project will inform the development of other remote monitoring services to deliver specialist care at home and manage any future increase in need.

Bryn Sage, Chief Executive of Inhealthcare, said: “This evaluation demonstrates that remote monitoring can provide a clinically safe and effective route to manage patients at home, minimise contact for positive Covid cases and significantly reduce demand on A&E departments, general practices and 111 call centres. It also underlines the importance of digital inclusion and patient choice as many people clearly feel more comfortable using telephones to engage with remote monitoring services.”