A digital self-care platform that connects community clinicians with chronically ill patients and their families via their TV is dramatically reducing home visits and emergency hospital admissions.
The 12-month pilot study of chronic lung disease patients by an NHS Foundation Trust shows promising results for Nimbus Medical’s InterCare platform – which enables patients to check their vital signs and connects them with their support network via a tablet or TV.
The system reduced nurse home visits by a third (33%), and emergency hospital visits by 37%. There was a 43% reduction in visits to outpatients, and 62% of patients reported an improvement in their anxiety levels.
Patients were given the ability to digitally track vital signs, such as blood pressure and oxygen levels, complete health questionnaires, and communicate with their community matron. They also made and received video calls from family and friends, and learned about their condition, enabling them to manage it better. Their Community Matron team set vital signs parameters to enable safe self-monitoring. The system alerted the patient if their vital signs were outside the parameters and they were then able to follow an agreed action plan with their clinician.
The senior clinical informatics and benefits facilitator at the Trust said: “All of the patients who took part in the study led very restricted lives because of their condition. They all recognised that their condition was susceptible to deterioration very quickly, and reported that proactive monitoring made them more confident in managing it better.”
A community nurse care coordinator said: “Patients who were motivated to use the technology felt empowered by it. One patient with severe COPD was very incapacitated by his breathing, but wanted to manage his condition himself as much as possible. His wife worked, so he was on his own quite a lot. He asked for the system, and he checked his vital signs every day. He was independent, and didn’t like going into hospital. The system was very good at making him aware of how ill he was sometimes. He had the reassurance that he could contact us for advice on what to do to stop his condition worsening, and avoid a hospital admission.”
John, a patient who took part in the initial small-scale pilot has had chronic lung disease and associated anxiety for 10 years. He said: “InterCare has been a valuable tool to help me get back into a healthy lifestyle. I would say it is revolutionary. It is easy and straightforward to navigate on my TV.”
The technology is designed to give patients confidence and support to manage long-term conditions and take a proactive role in their own care – keeping patients in touch with everyone in their health and wellbeing network. A patient’s own television can be InterCare-enabled with a HDMI stick, secure camera and user-friendly, large-scale keyboard controls. It brings accessible technology to a broad range of patients, including the elderly, vulnerable and those who need support with chronic conditions and rehabilitation.