Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board (CTMUHB) and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) have teamed up with Huma to pilot remote monitoring of patients with cardiac issues (heart failure) across Wales via an app in their own homes. Interim results are already allowing early discharge from hospital for some patients as they are being safely monitored at home.
This pilot is one of five innovation projects to test products or services as part of Welsh Government’s COVID-19 Digital Solutions Fund (DSF), coordinated by the team at Digital Health Ecosystem Wales (DHEW). The fund aims to rapidly test and evaluate new digital platforms, applications, and technologies to determine their long-term use and potential in NHS Wales.
The Huma project is running from July 2021 until mid-October 2021. Interim results are already allowing early discharge from hospital for some patients as they are being safely monitored at home. Checking for metrics such as heart rate and low oxygen levels has also helped clinical teams find patients who need extra tests, support, or earlier treatment ahead of planned appointments.
Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board were approached by Huma at the height of the first Covid pandemic, with the offer of collaboratively developing a heart failure self-monitoring app for patients to use from their own homes. As the project gained momentum, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board joined the phase one pilot which is now live and already proving to be a success.
Huma’s remote patient monitoring platform shares health information between patients and clinical teams. Its technology includes a smartphone Patient App and a web-browser Clinician Portal. The Patient App captures health data, such as heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, temperature, and weight.
This health data can then be reviewed by clinicians via the Portal help them make decisions about patients, spot early signs of health issues and act on them in a timely manner. Red and amber flags also help care teams prioritise patients who may be getting worse. The clinical team can also directly engage with patients thanks to built-in video consultation tools.
Eluned Morgan, Health and Social Services Minister, said: “This pilot demonstrates how technology can improve care, helping people to stay independent and free up space in hospital at the same time. Our Digital Solutions Fund is helping us to run small but rapid trials of digital technology which can improve care and improve how our clinicians can work.
“’A Healthier Wales’, our strategy for health and care, identifies digital technology as a driver for effective and efficient delivery now and in the future. This pilot demonstrates the potential for remote capture and sharing of data between patients and clinicians. The Digital Solutions Fund has provided several opportunities for us to trial digital technology and to understand what can be achieved.”
Dr Jonathan Gledhill, Head of Healthcare at Huma, said: “Our aim is to make it easier for patients to get the care they need. Our remote patient monitoring technology has already almost doubled clinical capacity in Covid wards, helped spot 10% of cardiac surgery patients who needed their surgery dates brought forward and improved health in diabetes patients, all whilst saving clinicians’ time. This latest project with cardiology patients is a great example of how innovative groups such as Cwm Taf Morgannwg University and Betsi Cadwaladr University health boards are showing how remote patient monitoring can transform healthcare and research.”
Viki Jenkins, Community Nursing at BCUHB, said: “BCUHB are delighted to be involved in this innovative pilot and look forward to collaborating with everyone. Tools such as this have the potential to transform healthcare in North Wales, not just in terms of COVID but reducing patient travel and directing resources to those who need it the most, long into the future.” ‘Already within the first week of BCUHB going live with the pilot I have identified patients who need urgent input and changes to keep them stable and out of hospital”
Mandie Welch, Lead Heart Failure ANP at CTMUHB, said: “CTMUHB wanted to be involved in this exciting pilot, as we recognise the need for change. We are looking forward to working with stakeholders and being at the forefront of change in Wales, for clinicians and patients. To date, 23 patients have been on-boarded onto the self-monitoring app, providing us, as clinicians the opportunity to optimise their medications in a timely and safe manner, identify worsening symptoms and facilitate early discharge from hospital.”
A patient said: “It really helps me keep track on my blood pressure, as I can look back at it and see the difference my medication is making, and this really makes me take my medications every day.”
For further information about the pilot, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also access further information about the Digital Solutions Fund here.