Virtual people

New virtual wards launched across London

Patients waiting for heart surgery and other procedures will now have access to additional support after a Barts Health NHS Trust consultant launches new virtual ward.

The virtual ward is part of the London Cardiac Remote Monitoring Programme, commissioned by North London Cardiac Operational Delivery Networks.

Much like many of the recent innovations in the NHS, the new technology is geared towards providing patients with better and more convenient care in the comfort of their own home – ultimately alleviating some of the backlog the health sector is still being stunted by.

The virtual ward is said to be “the brainchild” of consultant cardiologist Dr Debashish Das and has subsequently been launched across eight specialist heart centres in London, including St Bartholomew’s Hospital, which is run by Barts Health.

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.”

Patients using the new system will be tasked with answering questionnaires and submitting data such as blood pressure, so that the clinical teams at the helm of the virtual wards can monitor their progress and intervene as necessary.

If a patient’s data exhibit a deterioration in their condition, they could be offered a consultation and could potentially have their surgery earlier.

In a time of backlog and overworked NHS staff, the technology cut the amount of time a patient spent in hospital from three to five days, to one or two days during the pandemic using similar methods – allowing clinicians more time to treat other patients and arrest the backlog situation.

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

More information about the new programme is available here.

Also, don't forget if you want to learn more about the latest digital innovations in the NHS, you can register for our next Digital Health virtual event on the 21st of July by clicking here.

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