The Norfolk Community Health and Care Trust has reduced A&E and bed days by introducing a new remote-monitoring service for people living with heart and lung disease.
The Trust is using technology which allows patients to check their vital signs at home. The self-testing service is for patients who have recently experienced heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and need to be monitored to ensure their vital signs are within safe range.
The technology, designed by digital health group Inhealthcare, has been designed to help improve patients’ quality of life and free up hospital beds and surgery time.
By using the service, clinicians can monitor trends and intervene if readings move outside individual thresholds. Patients are encouraged to recognise changing symptoms and to self-manage their condition.
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.
The Trust analysed the use of the technology for six months and found a range of benefits, including an 88% reduction of bed days; A&E admissions reduced by 89%; GP visits reduced by 65%, and out-of-hours appointments reduced by 65%.
Tony Robinson, 83, a retired transport driver with heart failure, said: “We have the automated call every day at 11am and I provide readings for weight, blood pressure, oxygen saturation and pulse.
“It provides great peace of mind and lots of people say how well I seem. Some people might be afraid of trying out new technology, but I try to advise them how good it is.”
Bryn Sage, chief executive of Inhealthcare, said: “We are thrilled that the service is proving to be a success by helping high-dependency patients to enjoy a greater quality of life.
“Rolled out nationally, the service could have a hugely positive impact by reducing pressure on the NHS.
“The reduction in bed days suggests that clinicians have more confidence to discharge patients as they know they will be monitored at home.
“It enables clinicians to spot trends in readings and intervene if necessary to help patients from suffering a deterioration in health.
“We believe that self-testing empowers patients to become more active in the management of their wellbeing as it can clearly illustrate the link between lifestyle and health.”