Modern technology reduces hospital admissions

Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust uses Docobo Oximetry@Home solution to support COVID-19 patients in their own homes

The Oximetry@Home service is being delivered as part of Mersey Care's telehealth service

Modern technology is helping to reduce pressure on hospital beds on Merseyside by offering COVID-19 patients the opportunity to be monitored and cared for in their own homes.

Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust launched a pilot of the COVID Oximetry@Home service in April and began accepting referrals from primary care centres last month.

And the trust now plans to begin doing the same for patients who have presented to A&E departments.

The great thing about this is that it enables patients, either with COVID-19 or those suspected of having it, to be cared for in the community, rather than adding to the pressure on hospital beds

The innovation, created in partnership with digital health company, Docobo, is part of Mersey Care’s telehealth service and will monitor up to 500 Liverpool patients a day, safely and securely, either through an app on a smart phone or tablet or via Careportals.

“The great thing about this is that it enables patients, either with COVID-19 or those suspected of having it, to be cared for in the community, rather than adding to the pressure on hospital beds,” said Joe Rafferty, Mersey Care’s chief executive.

“It allows the nurse, carer, or patient to record vital signs such as blood oxygen levels that can help identify silent hypoxia at home and any signs of deterioration in their condition so we can get appropriate medical care to them.”

Since the start of the pandemic, the telehealth service has expanded, from monitoring 1,700 patients a day to having the capability to offer support to 5,000-plus patients a day, including those from the ‘shielded’ list.

The COVID Oximetry@Home service is currently available to all Liverpool CCG patients, but Mersey Care is working with other CCGs from across Cheshire and Merseyside to set up referral pathways to support their patients.

This collaboration is delivering better health care and is helping the whole eco system to cope with the demands and pressures of the pandemic

Rafferty, who is also lead chief executive and chairman of the Cheshire and Merseyside Out of Hospital Care Cell, said: “We’ve been working hard to try and reduce pressure on hospital admissions and this new service will provide real time support for all our vulnerable patients and those who may be shielding throughout the region.”

Rob Halhead, chief operating officer at Docobo, added: “This collaboration is delivering better health care and is helping the whole eco system to cope with the demands and pressures of the pandemic.

“This technology-enabled service means people stay at home and go to hospital less often. And early signs of deterioration being detected leads to early intervention. Everyone’s winning.”

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