Bevan sitting at desk reminds us to think about how digital healthcare helps put patients at the centre of their care
By Inhealthcare
In the Press 21 March 2022

As NHS and local government leaders set up new integrated care systems across England, it is worth remembering a post-war speech by the founding father of the national health service.

Aneurin Bevan said: “We must recognise that our hospital service is organised for the service of the patient and not for the purpose of the management board; not even for the good people who give their time and their service to it, and not even for the hospital administrators.”

His words are as important today as they were in 1946 and serve as a useful reminder that digital healthcare and data solutions will only succeed if they put patients at the centre of their care.

Healthy, independent and dignified lives

The government’s white paper on joining up care for people, places and populations has promised to put individuals and outcomes at the heart of health and social care as an alternative to the “endless form-filling, unnavigable processes and a bureaucracy which sees too many people get lost in the system, not receiving the care they need”, and give professionals access to the right data and technology to make more informed decisions. It states that successful integration of care systems will enable the planning, commissioning and delivery of coordinated, joined-up and seamless services to support healthy, independent and dignified lives and improve outcomes for the whole population. “Everyone should receive the right care, in the right place, at the right time,” declares the Department for Health and Social Care.

In this special feature for HTN, we demonstrate how digital healthcare solutions can help health and care organisations meet this objective. 

Prevent avoidable hospital admissions

In London, Inhealthcare is connecting hundreds of care home residents to their family doctors using remote monitoring technology. The new service aims to prevent avoidable hospital admissions, cut delays in transfers of care and reduce COVID infections. Our technology is linking primary care networks with care homes, helping clinicians to identify residents at risk of developing health problems so they can intervene in the appropriate way. The service helps care home workers, who have mixed levels of medical knowledge, to gather observations from residents and gain a greater understanding of individual wellbeing. It frees up space within hospitals by delivering effective and efficient care to people living in their homes. Importantly, this service encourages collaboration between different health and care providers to deliver the right care, in the right place, at the right time. 

Catching up on the massive NHS backlog

In the North East, Inhealthcare is powering a digital clinic designed by its NHS partner Health Call Solutions to connect clinicians with patients at home and minimise the need to attend hospital appointments in person during the pandemic. More than a simple video conferencing service managing in person as well as virtual consultations, it provides an all-encompassing approach to help hospitals build capacity and meet outpatient demand, catching up on the massive backlog of cancelled or delayed appointments. It integrates directly with hospital patient administration systems, supporting appointment management, reminders, recording attendances, distributing and gathering patient questionnaires and sharing outcome forms with electronic patient records. Again, this service is helping people to receive the right care, in the right place, at the right time. 

Virtual wards: one of the first examples

NHS England has ordered the expansion of virtual wards set up during the pandemic to care for people living with Covid and other conditions. In 2020-21, Inhealthcare worked with Wessex AHSN to roll-out one of the first examples of a virtual ward with the digitally-enabled Oximetry@Home pathway, bringing life-saving care to more than 10,000 people across southern England, which helped reduce intensive care admissions and cut the length of hospital stays. The service is fully inclusive, giving patients a choice of communication channels including email, SMS text message or automated telephone call, enabling the delivery of care outside of traditional settings. 

Patients happy to monitor conditions at home

In the Home Counties, Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership are using our Blood Pressure@Home software to deliver remote monitoring of hypertensive patients. Clinicians anticipate it will improve health outcomes for patients and create capacity within the NHS by helping people to manage their conditions, reduce their blood pressure and save millions of pounds in reduced use of NHS services.

Dr Jagjit Rai, partner at a family medical practice in Stanwell, said: “We have demonstrated that patients are happy to monitor their conditions from home, and when they do, they not only develop a better understanding of their condition, but feel empowered to manage it better through remembering to take their medication and making lifestyle choices.”

Mr Gurmit Bhamra, a patient on the service, said: “Joining has been very helpful to me. It means I can monitor my blood pressure without having to go to see my GP every two or three days and I have become more aware of what the blood pressure readings mean.” 

Coordinated, joined-up and seamless services

To make it quicker and easier for individuals to access NHS services and their health and care information, we have completed the integration of our technology platform with NHS login. NHS login has been created by the NHS and follows industry and government standards for security and identity. It is available on all Inhealthcare’s patient-facing applications. Inhealthcare has also integrated with the Message Exchange for Social Care and Health (MESH), the secure large file transfer service used across health and social care organisations. Both are vital for coordinated, joined-up and seamless services. 

Boost operational and strategic decision-making

Inhealthcare is helping providers and commissioners to analyse near real-time NHS data about patients and pathways to boost operational and strategic decision-making. Inhealthcare has built a ‘data lake’ to enable new views into the growing amounts of data generated by remote patient monitoring services. The move is in line with the government’s ambitious plans to harness the potential of data, while maintaining the highest standards of privacy and ethics, to help the NHS rebuild from the pandemic and address the long-term challenges facing the health and social care sector. Data is essential for effective collaboration between different providers and ensuring patients have the best possible experience when accessing care, wherever and whenever they need it. 

Reduce health inequalities in disadvantaged areas

These are just some examples of how Inhealthcare is helping the NHS and local government to join up health and social care services across the new ICSs.

Our technology is tried and tested: an evaluation of our remote monitoring pathway for people with Covid symptoms confirmed that it improved access to NHS services and can be safely rolled out to help others. Funded by the Scottish Government, last year’s study found that patients had positive experiences of using the system and staff felt supported and engaged. The evaluation indicated the remote health pathway contributed to increased self-management among patients, improved resource efficiency and reduced health inequalities with more than twice as many people from disadvantaged areas using the system. These outcomes fully support the policy ambitions of ICSs: improving population health and healthcare, tackling unequal outcomes and access, enhancing productivity and value for money and helping the NHS to encourage broader social and economic development.

More than one million patients have used our services since the start of the pandemic, putting themselves at the centre of their care.

Read the Covid 19 Remote health Pathway, Scotland case study here

Read our special report to find out how digital solutions can help health and care organisations with putting the patient at the centre of care, with the provision of the “right care in the right place at the time” and with the sharing of knowledge and data. Click here to read more

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