A digital platform that connects community clinicians with chronically ill patients and their families is helping reduce home visits and emergency hospital admissions.
Nimbus Medical’s InterCare platform lets patients check their vital sings and connects them with a member of their support team via a tablet or TV.
The platform works by connecting a patient’s own television with an InterCare-enabled with a HDMI stick, secure camera and user-friendly, large-scale keyboard controls.
The platform was tested on a 12-month pilot study by an NHS Foundation Trust for patients with COPD and other chronic lung conditions using its Community Matron Service. The system was shown to reduce nurse home visits by 33%, emergency hospital visits by 37%, visits to outpatients by 43% and 62% of patients reported an improvement in their anxiety levels.
Patients on the study used the platform to track vital signs, complete health questionnaires and communicate with their community matron. Patients could also make and receive video calls from family and friends and learn about their condition to help them manage it better.
The patients’ Community Matron team set up vital signs parameters to help them safely monitor their vital signs. If their vital signs went outside of the parameters the patients were alerted and were then able to confer with their clinician.
The senior clinical informatics and benefits facilitator at the Trust said: “All of the patients who took part in the study led very restricted lives because of their condition. They all recognised that their condition was susceptible to deterioration very quickly, and reported that proactive monitoring made them more confident in managing it better.”
A community nurse care coordinator commented: “Patients who were motivated to use the technology felt empowered by it. One patient with severe COPD was very incapacitated by his breathing, but wanted to manage his condition himself as much as possible. His wife worked, so he was on his own quite a lot. He asked for the system, and he checked his vital signs every day. He was independent, and didn’t like going into hospital. The system was very good at making him aware of how ill he was sometimes. He had the reassurance that he could contact us for advice on what to do to stop his condition worsening, and avoid a hospital admission.”
Mark Pedder of Nimbus Medical’s senior management team said: “With the current pressures on the NHS, technology offers a clear pathway for patients with chronic conditions to manage their own care as much as possible. Overcoming the accessibility challenge is crucial though – to make digital healthcare viable for patients with varying technical ability. This pilot study shows that an intuitive interface, which uses existing trusted devices such as your own TV, brings clinicians, patients and their families together as care partners to provide real health benefits. It empowers patients and significantly improves outcomes.”