The respiratory virtual ward supports patients who would otherwise be in hospital, to get the acute care, remote monitoring and treatment they need in their own home or usual place of residence. As well as preventing patients from being admitted into hospital, the service also works to safely discharge patients earlier from hospital, freeing up bed capacity.
The service is an enhanced version of the successful Oximetry @ home service rolled out across the Hampshire and Isle of Wight STP.
How the virtual ward service works
Our technology-enabled virtual ward manages patients in their own home through our digital health platform. Patients or carers measure agreed vital signs and enter data using an app, SMS, automated phone call or online portal. We also the Vitalpatch® wearable that continuously monitors and reports vital signs back to the platform. Clinical teams can view individual patient measurements through the dashboard and teams will be alerted when patients move outside of agreed parameters, allowing them to take appropriate action.
Patients can input a range of health observations, including respiratory rate, oxygen saturation, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, pulse rate, level of consciousness, new confusion and temperature. The system will calculate a NEWS2 score and RAG rating which may trigger an alert for the GP if the score meets certain thresholds.
The rollout of virtual wards is being financed by the Primary Care System Development Fund (SDF). At a minimum, each Integrated Care System (ICS) is expected to implement virtual wards for two pathways, acute respiratory infection and frailty, equivalent to 40-50 virtual ward ‘beds’ per 100,000 population by December 2023.
Read our special report on how you can meet the requirements set out by NHSE to support your roll out of virtual wards.
Listen to our podcast on how to set up a virtual ward with our product director, Jamie Innes.