Patients with heart failure will be monitored at home via smart devices in a move that could transform how healthcare is delivered across north-west London.
Ealing and Northwick Park hospitals started the ‘virtual’ heart failure wards service this week with patients using an oxygen finger probe, blood pressure monitor and weighing scale to relay information through a purpose-built phone app to specialist nurses.
Nurses monitor results and contact patients with any concerns advising on issues including medication, the need for more frequent monitoring or a physical assessment.
Patients are reviewed by heart failure specialist nurses before joining the virtual ward in an area of the capital with one of the highest admission rates for heart disease in the UK.
Emil Elias, a cardiac nurse practitioner and heart failure specialist, said: “I believe that the virtual ward programme is going to revolutionise the management of heart failure patients.
“Research has shown the use of remote monitoring can predict deterioration and offer long term benefits for heart failure patients through outpatient management. This allows us to improve symptoms, reduce hospitalisation, increase survival and enhance these patients quality of life.”
Dr Harmandeep Singh, who will be leading the virtual wards in on Ealing, added: “We’re potentially on the brink of delivering a new era of home based healthcare which could potentially be deployed to tackle a range of conditions, such as COPD.”
“It’s very exciting and especially relevant given the past year when people have been reluctant to come to hospital because of Covid-19.”