Vulnerable heart failure patients in Salford who have seen reduced hospital check-ups during the Covid-19 pandemic are now being monitored remotely, following the introduction of a state-of-the-art digital care solution.
Healthcare teams at Salford Care Organisation, part of the Northern Care Alliance Group, are piloting the use of a remote monitoring system which uses a smartphone app and easy-to-use connected Bluetooth devices. It’s empowering patients to self-manage and record their weight and blood pressure between appointments.
The new system developed by Norwegian medical tech firm Dignio, automatically sends a patients’ readings direct to clinicians at Salford Royal via a special data platform. Although face-to-face appointments are still needed for this group of patients to do blood test and physical examinations, they are now happening less frequently.
The Covid-19 pandemic meant restrictions in movement, social distancing and more hygiene between patients, so the service had to see fewer patients per clinic. With the help of the new system and what amounts to a ‘virtual clinic’ patients can opt to be seen face to face less often, but are still cared for.
Everyone taking part in the pilot gets access to the Dignio App to record their measurements manually and they also get a set of digital scales and blood pressure monitor. The data can be reviewed and monitored by the healthcare team and thresholds for alerts set on an individual patient basis. It means that when something falls outside acceptable range clinicians are alerted.
The platform effectively flags up any signs which indicate their condition is deteriorating between visits.
If a patient with heart failure becomes unwell, it can potentially lead to an admission with a patient staying in hospital for up to 11 days. This costs around £4,000 for each stay. By identifying a problem before this happens using the MyDignio App, potentially means hospital admissions can be reduced.
Originally developed in Norway, the app and the remote care solution has been widely used across the country for monitoring patients with a variety of long-term health conditions.