Tech supported remote monitoring for COVID-19

Our Chief Digital Officer, Tara Donnelly, and Matt Inada-Kim, Consultant Acute Physician and National Clinical Lead for Deterioration, highlight the support and guidance available to support clinicians, social care staff and Innovation Collaboratives with the implementation of tech-supported remote monitoring.

Tara Donnelly and Matt Inda Kim

Across the country clinical teams have set up new ways to support people at home during the COVID-19 outbreak, using digital tools to excellent effect at an impressive pace. 

These are services run out of primary, community or hospital settings, where people with COVID-19 are given a device to measure their blood oxygen levels (a pulse oximeter) teamed with an app on their smartphone. This enables them to track their symptoms and share their results with the clinical team supervising them quickly and easily. Allowing their progress to be reviewed and for any deterioration to be picked up rapidly, and seeking to reduce the time it takes clinical teams to safely monitor their patients.

The first sites using these models found patients hugely appreciated seeing their results had been reviewed. They also found it reassuring that if they wanted to contact a clinician, they could do so easily via a video or phone call within the app. Clinicians found the dashboards helpful in giving them ongoing information about progress and rapid information on any deterioration, so they could focus on those patients that most needed their input. Many services are moving towards offering a digital service in the main, whilst ensuring they provide a non-digital pathway for those patients who are happier with this format. Thanks to Kent, Surrey and Sussex AHSN for their support in evaluation of the first sites that we will publish at the end of the month. 


Much more info follows below this blog on the resources available to sites keen to rapidly adopt remote monitoring. We highly recommend joining NHS Futures. There is a wealth of information in the form of recorded webinars, blueprints, networks and lot of support at the pages on: 

If you’re an NHS, social care or local authority staff member and you’re not already on NHS Futures you can set up an account by submitting a request for access on the Future NHS website.

There is also a vibrant pulse oximetry learning network that meets virtually fortnightly to share learning, that you would be very welcome to join. Simply email nhsi.psimprovement@nhs.net

NHSX can also give bespoke support to anyone looking to implement a tech supported service for COVID-19 home monitoring, just email the team at innovation.collaborative@nhsx.nhs.uk

This work is fully aligned with the COVID-19 Oximetry @home pathway and designed to complement it for those sites that would like to put in a tech supported scheme. 

The following virtual event is coming up that may be of well be of interest to relevant staff:

Implementation support for COVID-19 remote pulse oximetry services

Monday 16 November, 11am to 12pm or Wednesday 18 November, 3pm to 4pm. This event is strictly limited to two staff per CCGs and will support the continued set-up of 'COVID Oximetry @home' services (also known as 'COVID virtual wards'). It will also outline the support available. A recording will be available afterwards. 

Best of luck! 

Tara and Matt

Further details

Information for sites implementing tech supported remote monitoring for COVID-19 

NHSX working with trusts and CCGs during COVID-19 got great results from supporting people with COVID oximetry @home (also known as ‘virtual wards’) run out of primary care hot hubs across nine sites. Citizens use an app to record symptoms and share with clinicians and a pulse oximeter. A number of other sites, such as acute trusts in Berkshire and Southampton and primary care services in Hampshire and Slough, have had similarly positive results, picking up escalation early and patients feeling reassured.

We believe that this is a very good model to have in place as we enter the second wave. It can be set up rapidly in as little as four weeks if teams have the clinical model in place and are focused. A detailed, step-by-step blueprint has been created by the teams at West Herts and North West London and is available on the Innovation Collaborative platform (mentioned in point four below).

We are keen to share resources with other sites who are interested in adopting tech-enabled remote monitoring and have run and recorded webinars in recent weeks led by the clinicians involved on: 

How to set up a tech supported COVID-19 home service

We also welcome case studies and resources we can share.

There is also an excellent webinar featuring Professor Trish Greenhalgh and Matt Inada-Kim run by Oxford AHSN:

There are a host of resources on the NHS Futures platform - the dedicated collaborative website for NHS, social care and local authority staff interested in adoption - and a community keen to share and help each other. The following are particularly relevant:

There is also a great Learning Network for NHS@Home pulse oximetery learning which has almost 100 members and meets on a fortnightly basis. Simply email nhsi.psimprovement@nhs.net to join. This is run by the NHSE/I Managing Deterioration Patient Safety Improvement Programme together with the Patient Safety Collaboratives in the 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs). 
 
Pulse oximeters are being made available for local primary care organisations to draw down to support home monitoring.

In September Crown Commercial Services (CCS) concluded a procurement exercise on remote monitoring platforms and portals on behalf of NHSX. There are a range of platforms on this Spark Dynamic Purchasing System. This means local NHS organisations can select from these suppliers through a very simple process. There is more information here on the NHSX website and on the CCS website to help you make the most of this locally.

Finally, we have established a small team within NHSX to help anyone who would like to set up a service to support COVID-19 patients in a second wave. The email address is innovation.collaborative@nhsx.nhs.uk. They can also link you into work going on within your Region and may be able to help with the cost of licences in the current financial year.