The importance of regular and accurate monitoring of patients cannot be overstated but the practicality of 24/7 observations can be time consuming and difficult to manage.
We needed to find a way to ensure we could keep a close eye on any deterioration in condition whilst also reducing the direct contact between patients and staff, particularly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The team proposed the use of Current Health monitors to resolve these issues and the potential benefits were identified as:
- Early detection of deterioration could mean an earlier referral to critical care
- Enabling earlier discharge for low risk patients who only require observations
- Reduction in possible COVID-19 transmissions
- Reduction in the number of home visits required
Research was carried out with a neighbouring Trust who were using the monitors already. Although the original plan was to use them in a similar way, for home visits, it was soon apparent that they could be utilised within the hospital on the acute respiratory wards. However, the device hadn’t originally been created for hospital use so MFT became one of the first Trusts to use them in this way.
There was already confidence that the monitors would be a success as the SMART (Surgical Medical Acute Response Team) team had been looking in to the use of tele medicine for some time and there were examples of it being used successfully locally and abroad. The team were right to feel confident as the project was a success and the use of the monitors within the hospital worked but for patient choice and staff consistency.
The issues identified were shared with the company and further improvements were identified.
Currently, the use for inpatients is limited due to size and issues with the blood pressure monitoring not able to record remotely without numerous interactions by the patient. In order to resolve this, the team have been in communication with the Current Health Company, sharing ideas to make the device patient friendly.
SMART has discussed with the company about a possible redesign to increase the usefulness within the hospital setting. As a result of these conversations, some changes have already been made to make the monitor more user friendly.
The team also identified an additional group of patients who may benefit from use of the monitor, such as elderly patients and those with learning disabilities.
If the project was carried out now, the support of the Innovations Institute would be priceless.
It would certainly help to move things along quicker and with the input of clinical coaches and their authority, it would be easier to progress. It would also increase awareness and knowledge of the project and encourage buy in from different areas and departments.