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More support for surgery patients on virtual wards

Remote monitoring in the NHS

Londoners waiting for heart surgery are to get more support thanks to a virtual ward created by a Barts Health consultant.

The number of people waiting for procedures has increased during the pandemic.

The technology allows NHS clinicians to monitor patients at home, give advice on how to prepare for surgery and spot those who may need to be treated sooner.

It’s the brainchild of consultant cardiologist Dr Debashish Das and has been rolled out to eight specialist heart centres in the capital, including at St Bartholomew’s Hospital.

Patients using the system will answer questionnaires and submit data such as blood pressure to a virtual ward monitored by hospital clinicians.

Those showing deterioration will be offered a consultation and may even have their surgery sooner.

During the pandemic, Dr Das and his team have also used remote monitoring to get patients home sooner after an operation.

They cut the time in hospital from 3-5 days to 1-2 days, freeing up capacity in hospital to treat other patients.

London is the first city in the UK to run a remote monitoring programme on this scale.

Dr Das said: “Remote monitoring is a game changer. It gives clinicians up to date patient data, often in real time, so we can make sure our patients are on the best course of treatment. For patients, it gives them an important role to play in their own care, and the comfort of knowing they are being assessed from afar.” 

The London Cardiac Remote Monitoring Programme has been commissioned on behalf of the South and North London Cardiac Operational Delivery Networks using technology from Ortus-iHealth.

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  1. Debbie Hustings Thursday, 16 June 2022 at 02:56 PM

    The launch of virtual wards and home monitoring is a very welcome and exciting development. With a move to community based care it seems important we consider the needs of unpaid carers who are often the ones who pick up the on-going care following discharge. To ensure a safe transfers of care, we need to ask the unpaid carers whether they are willing and able to care. We also need to provide training, by practitioners with the relevant knowledge and skills, to equip our unpaid carers to help them provide care. This to include how to use digital and assistive technology. Many carers experience financial hardship and consideration must be given to the cost of running equipment from home. For those on a reduced income these costs will impact of whether equipment is used or not. It would be good to learn more about how unpaid carers were involved in this project and what adjustments were made for them.