oximetry at home
By Louise Ashton
Blog 1 December 2021

A debate between doctors on social media has highlighted the disparities in care for Covid patients in different parts of the UK – and led to calls for more remote monitoring services.

Dr Dan Goyal, a campaigning NHS medical consultant, took to Twitter to state that healthcare provision for people with the disease is “far too inadequate” in the UK and does not even meet World Health Organisation standards for a low-resource setting. In his thread, Dr Goyal claimed that cases received no initial assessment, had no formal follow-up – even if they were high risk – and an 80-year-old could contract Covid and receive no contact from any healthcare professional.

 

In response, Dr Caroline O’Keeffe, medical director of North Hampshire Urgent Care in southern England, said: “I would respectfully disagree. In @HIOW_ICS [Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Integrated Care System], all high-risk patients are contacted and offered assessment and admission to home oximetry with 3x daily contacts. Has been in place for over a year… and evidence to show improved outcomes.” 

 

Dr Goyal agreed that Oximetry@Home is “a great service” adding it is “likely saving lives daily” but “access is an issue. You are not automatically offered the service”.

 

Dr Mark Porter, a GP and columnist at The Times, said: “In my part of England [the Cotswolds], every patient who tests positive is contacted and those at risk / struggling, admitted to virtual Covid ward for daily monitoring and given Budesonide, pulse oximeter etc… It is my understanding that this is guidance in England at least – which we follow (as do all practices locally). But should be universal.”

 

Dr Linda Dykes, an emergency medicine consultant and GP in the West Midlands, said: “Worth pointing out it varies from region to region. It shouldn’t but it does, with some getting a very good home monitoring service including O2 sats and daily contact. Others get nothing at all.”

 

According to NHS England, the Oximetry@Home pathway should be available to people who are diagnosed with Covid and symptomatic and either 65 or older or under 65 and at higher risk from the disease. Guidance says “pulse oximetry has the potential to benefit those most at risk of coronavirus, therefore ensuring equal access is a priority” and services are primarily implemented in general practice.

 

Bryn Sage, chief executive of Inhealthcare, said: “We provide fully inclusive technology for a growing number of Oximetry@Home services across the UK and strongly believe the service should be available to everyone who needs it, wherever they live, with a choice of communications channels including contact with a nurse or doctor. Research shows Oximetry@Home has considerably improved health outcomes, reducing the odds of longer length hospital stays and mortality, and is liked by patients, who find it reassuring.”

Chris Harris, a retiree from Hampshire, was added to the service after testing positive for Covid. His self testing at home alerted doctors to a fall in oxygen levels and he was taken to hospital for treatment. Mr Harris told the BBC: “I got there before my condition worsened. I was ahead of the game. It was a lifesaver.”

 

We provide fully inclusive technology for a growing number of Oximetry@Home services across the UK and strongly believe the service should be available to everyone who needs it, wherever they live, with a choice of communications channels including contact with a nurse or doctor. Research shows Oximetry@Home has considerably improved health outcomes, reducing the odds of longer length hospital stays and mortality, and is liked by patients, who find it reassuring.

Bryn Sage, chief executive of Inhealthcare
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