Virtual wards linking home and hospital

This Guardian article, reporting on Edinburgh following Croydon’s example of setting up ‘virtual wards’ of people being cared for at home, is slow to get going but read on to where it gets into some of the detail. It’s a service that arises from a distinctly different culture to the ‘Doctor will see you now’ item below this. Read it here. And oh, someone has just realised the model could be applied to social care…

[Additional information following the above post, this month’s sponsor, Project E-vita, pointed out that a client of theirs, Medihome, has been providing this kind of service for some NHS hospitals in London and South East England for a number of years. The NHS Department of Innovation and Improvement made a video about Medihome and Project E-vita as an example of an innovative way of delivering care to people. Medihome use the Project E-vita system to collect data about patients in their own home using MACIC, a PDA-based system that synchronises with the master record held on Project E-vita. Hospital consultants can then access patients’ records and monitor their progress. Nurses even take images of wounds healing and upload these for observation. Medihome provides two distinct services to NHS hospitals: ‘early discharge’, saving costs on hospital occupancy, and an ‘alternative admission’ service where patients that might be admitted through the emergency department are intercepted and assessed for treatment in their own home.

There are three excellent videos showing the system in use that are accessible from the Medihome home page.

Websites: Medihome and Project Evita]

1 thought on “Virtual wards linking home and hospital

  1. I have been impressed by the potential of telehealth in empowering the patient (see my previous articles) and evidence is still needed to convince more PCTs and doctors to use such services. These 3 videos by Medihome are informative and highlight the misconceptions about the motives and value of private services supporting the NHS. Shiela Puckett (Director of Service Improvements and Operations, Stanmore) said “a lot of NHS staff are suspicious of private medicine” and Sue Jeffers (Director of Quality and Healthcare Transformation, Hounslow PCT) “the hospital doctors and consultants were the most difficult to persuade” in taking on new technology but apparently once familiar Hounslow PCT were convinced by its practicality.

    The consensus I took from from the Telehealth Conferences in Brighton this year was further pilot studies are not going to answer the questions about benefits of telehealth, nor are they likely to overcome the inertia in the take-up of telehealth in the NHS. Maybe some PCTs have taken a ‘leap of faith’ in going ahead with telehealth. We await the results of the three ‘Whole System Demonstrator sites” however I believe PCTs should seriously consider more mainstreaming of telehealth services. As a private provider of telehealth services I have to advise the patients that I benefit from running a telehealth service, but I believe the use of innovative services by independent providers is one way to increase patient choice and should be encouraged by the government.

    Dr. Lance N. Forbat BSc(Hons).MD.FRCP.FRCP(Glasg).
    Consultant Cardiologist

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