Virtual ward and remote monitoring solution to reduce respiratory-related hospital admissions and increase available beds
Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (HUTH) will be the first NHS England provider to implement ground-breaking technology developed by Edinburgh-based Lenus Health to transform how patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) are managed.
The Lenus COPD support service, already in use across major NHS Scotland health boards, will enable respiratory patients to receive specialist care in their own homes, provide access to self-management tools and enabling direct communication with care teams.
Nobody wants to be in hospital and so the virtual ward option is something we’re really pleased to be able to offer to patients as it gives them the chance to stay at home with their families and loved ones, but continue to be monitored by expert clinicians
It will also capture structured data to generate patient-specific health insights for clinicians that aim to reduce hospital admissions through more-timely interventions.
The transformed service will also be used to increase capacity by freeing up hospital beds for use by other patients at Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital through early supported discharge or new admissions directly onto a ‘respiratory virtual ward’.
The agreement will support up to 1,000 patients remotely at any one time across the region in COPD and other cardio-respiratory conditions.
Respiratory diseases are a major factor in winter pressures faced by the NHS, with hospital admissions for lung disease at three times the rate of general admissions.
Following a clinical assessment, HUTH respiratory patients can now safely recover at home using a combination of technology and regular interactions with their care team.
Joanne Thompson, respiratory matron and operational lead for the respiratory virtual ward, said: “Nobody wants to be in hospital and so the virtual ward option is something we’re really pleased to be able to offer to patients as it gives them the chance to stay at home with their families and loved ones, but continue to be monitored by expert clinicians.
“By taking an integrated approach to remote monitoring and virtual wards, we can use technology to have better information on the health of our COPD patients and how it changes over time.
“With that, we can provide care that is more proactive and personalised to an individual patient’s needs, which stops them being admitted to hospital in the first place.”
Following promising results across socioeconomic groups with severe COPD in a clinical trial by one of the UK’s largest health providers, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, HUTH is the first trust in England to adopt the Lenus COPD Support Service.
By taking an integrated approach to remote monitoring and virtual wards, we can use technology to have better information on the health of our COPD patients and how it changes over time
The contract is also supported by a recently-awarded SBRI Healthcare funding to generate further evidence of the clinical effectiveness of the monitoring elements of the service.
Jim McNair, business development director at Lenus Health, said: “COPD affects approximately 1.2 million people in the United Kingdom and its prevalence is higher in the North of England and Scotland, especially in communities facing socioeconomic deprivation.
“For that reason, we have worked hard to co-design services that can improve access to care for people with this debilitating condition. “HUTH is an important partner with whom we will join up virtual ward activities with long-term remote monitoring. This will not only reduce immediate pressures on available hospital beds, but also address the root cause of unplanned admissions by co-ordinating care in the community.
“The SBRI award supporting our partnership with HUTH further validates the innovative approach we are taking to reduce hospital admissions while increasing clinical capacity, especially in communities challenged by health inequalities.”