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Found 115 results
  1. News Article
    Norfolk Community Health and Care it is using a remote monitoring service from Inhealthcare which allows patients to monitor their vital signs at home and relay readings via a choice of communication channels to clinicians who monitor trends and intervene if readings provide any cause for concern. Analysis of the six months before and after introduction showed a significant reduction in hospital bed days, A&E attendances, GP visits and out-of-hours appointments. Lead heart failure nurse at the trust, Rhona Macpherson, spoke to Digital Health News about the impact of the services on patients and nurses. For Macpherson, the service has helped promote self-management. “We give each of the patients a set of scales, blood pressure monitor and pulse oximeter and we get them to do their observations,” she said. “So we’re promoting self-management and looking at things but also it means that we can get accurate information on what’s happening with their observations. “We then set parameters to alert if they go outside of the parameters, and it just means we can intervene much more quickly than we would do, and we can see what’s going on between our visits as well as what’s happening when we’re actually there.” The service has transformed working practices for nurses, increasing efficiency and saving valuable time. Macpherson said: “We’re using the technology to try and make ourselves a little bit more efficient, so it’s saving on the travel time and face to face visits. “We can do a lot more with telephone. We’ve got the option of using video, but telephone is actually quite useful. So it’s less face to face visits, less travel and also, we’re trying to empower the patients to do their own observations and monitor themselves, rather than us just doing it for them.”
  2. News Article
    The Royal Surrey County Hospital is preparing to open its first virtual ward. From this summer 15 patients will receive treatment at home using apps and wearable technology, as an alternative to a stay in hospital. The ward will be overseen by a consultant, working with therapists, nursing staff and pharmacists. The hospital, in Guildford, plans to extend the ward to 52 patients by April 2024. Health providers across England have been asked to deliver virtual wards at a rate of 40 to 50 beds per 100,000 people by December 2023. It is hoped they will free up beds more quickly, speeding up admissions from A&E and for elective surgery. Read full story Source: BBC News, 7 June 2022
  3. News Article
    Nearly 900 patients with type 1 diabetes in England are testing a potentially life-changing artificial pancreas. It can eliminate the need for finger prick tests and prevent life-threatening hypoglycaemic attacks, where blood sugar levels fall too low. The technology uses a sensor under the skin. It continually monitors the levels, and a pump automatically adjusts the amount of insulin required. Six-year-old Charlotte, from Lancashire, is one of more than 200 children using the hybrid closed loop system. Her mother, Ange Abbott, told us it has made a massive impact on the whole family. "Prior to having the loop, everything was manual," she said. "At night we'd have to set the alarm every two hours to do finger pricks and corrections of insulin in order to deal with the ups and downs of Charlotte's blood sugars." Prof Partha Kar, NHS national speciality adviser for diabetes, said: "Having machines monitor and deliver medication for diabetes patients sounds quite sci-fi like, but technology and machines are part and parcel of how we live our lives every day. "It is not very far away from the holy grail of a fully automated system, where people with type 1 diabetes can get on with their lives without worrying about glucose levels or medication." Read full story Source: BBC News, 1 April 2022 Further reading on the hub How safe are closed loop artificial pancreas systems?
  4. News Article
    Amazon, eBay and Wish have stopped stocking some monitors that let people keep track of their blood oxygen levels after an investigation found they were not fit to be sold. The online marketplaces removed a number of pulse oxygen testing devices known as oximeters from sale after being alerted to flaws identified by the consumer organisation Which? Pulse oximeters have boomed in popularity as a result of Covid, with millions of people keeping one at home so they can quickly assess if their blood oxygen level has fallen worryingly low – a condition known as “silent hypoxia” – which is a common side-effect of the disease. Some of the devices were not legally fit to be sold in the UK, did not carry the CE quality Kitemark or wrongly claimed that they had been approved by the NHS. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said it would look into the unauthorised use of the health service’s iconic blue and white branding on the devices. It made clear that “the NHS does not approve or endorse any medical devices, including oximeters”. “The department strictly controls the NHS identity and takes unauthorised use or adaptation of the NHS logo and the letters ‘NHS’ very seriously”, a DHSC spokesperson said. Which? said that 11 of the cheap pulse oximeters it bought from those websites failed to comply with UK and European Union law when it examined them closely. “It is very concerning that our investigation found these medical devices for sale without the required safety markings or brazenly claiming to be approved by the NHS, and the biggest online marketplaces were not picking up on these red flags”, said Natalie Hitchens, the consumer group’s head of home products and services. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 26 March 2022
  5. News Article
    NHS trusts are facing calls to suspend the use of a monitoring system that continuously records video of mental health patients in their bedrooms amid concerns that it breaches their human rights. Mental health charities said the Oxevision system, used by 23 NHS trusts in some psychiatric wards to monitor patients’ vital signs, could breach their right to privacy and exacerbate their distress. The call comes after Camden and Islington NHS foundation trust (C&I) suspended its use of Oxevision after a formal complaint by a female patient who said the system amounted to “covert surveillance”. The Oxevision system allows staff to monitor a patient’s pulse and breathing rate via an optical sensor, which consists of a camera and an infrared illuminator to allow night-time observation. It includes a live video feed of the patient, which is recorded and kept for 24-72 hours, depending on the NHS trust, before being deleted. Oxehealth, which created the system, said it was not like CCTV because staff could only view the video feed for about 10-15 seconds during a vital signs check or in response to a safety incident. The system, which is also installed at Exeter police station custody suite and an Oxfordshire care home, can alert staff if someone else has unexpectedly entered a patient’s room or if they are in a blindspot, such as the bathroom, for too long. Alexa Knight, associate director of policy and practice at Rethink Mental Illness, said: “While we appreciate that the motivation for putting surveillance cameras in people’s bedrooms stems from the need to protect them, to do so without clear consent is unjustifiable and this pilot should be suspended immediately.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 13 December 2021
  6. News Article
    A major GP group in Plymouth covering tens of thousands of patients could have its licence removed after failing to make ‘substantial improvements’ ordered by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). In August, the CQC rated the Mayflower Medical Group “inadequate” and last month the regulator said it had served a “letter of intent” on the group after another inspection. Such a letter is the last step the CQC takes before a provider’s licence is suspended. Licence suspension would affect around 40,000 people (a sixth of Plymouth’s population), who live in one of the highest areas of deprivation in the country – according to Public Health England (now the UK Health Security Agency). Among the CQC’s concerns were safety fears about the way medicines were prescribed, poor management of high-risk patients, coding issues, limited monitoring of the outcomes of care and treatment, and patients experiencing difficulties accessing care and treatment. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 2 December 2021
  7. News Article
    Ministers may allow GPs in England to halt regular monitoring of millions of patients with underlying health problems as part of the urgent new blitz on delivering Covid booster jabs. Sajid Javid and NHS bosses are locked in talks with GP representatives at the British Medical Association (BMA) about relaxing rules which mean family doctors undertake checks on people with diabetes, high blood pressure and other conditions that mean they are at higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke. It came as the health secretary announced the government has secured contracts to buy 114m more vaccine doses for next year and 2023. The deals, accelerated in the wake of the Omicron variant, will see the UK purchase 54m more Pfizer/BioNTech jabs and 60m from Moderna to “future-proof” the inoculation programme, Javid said. The BMA, the doctors’ union, has been lobbying Javid for months to suspend or scrap the Quality Outcomes Framework (QOF), which it says is “bureaucratic” and interferes with GPs’ right to judge how they care for patients. Officials with knowledge of the talks told the Guardian that those involved spent much of Tuesday discussing the suspension of part or all of the requirements under QOF. “They’re talking about a partial suspension of QOF. But they may well just bin it,” one said. However, sources stressed that ministers are nervous about approving a move that could lead to claims that vulnerable patients could see any deterioration in their condition go undetected by GPs. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 1 December 2021
  8. News Article
    Mobile apps to track patients' health are keeping them out of hospital and could cut waiting times, experts have said. It follows a trial of a new app which heart patients are using through their mobile phones. The trial allows clinicians to change treatments quickly and uses video consultations, avoiding unnecessary hospital visits. Rhodri Griffiths is the innovation adoption director at Life Sciences Hub Wales, and is looking for more ways to introduce similar technology. He believes the pandemic accelerated the use and acceptance of digital solutions in healthcare, by patients and clinicians. "We really are looking at a big digital revolution within healthcare and there are an amazing myriad of things coming through," he said. He explained data collected by smartphones and watches can help predict who is likely to have a heart attack. "We can avoid that happening. So prevention is key but it's also looking at how some of this can impact on waiting lists," he said. "So, looking at how theatres are used, which patients can be prioritised? "In social care it's looking at how pain is managed by face recognition." Mr Griffiths said he believed the data collected could also identify wider problems: "It's combining these digital solutions with our genetic information - bringing big data together on a population level we can start spotting trends". Read full story Source: BBC News, 4 August 2022
  9. News Article
    NHS England patients with Type 1 diabetes will now be eligible for life-changing continuous glucose monitors after the health service secured a new cut-price deal. The wearable arm gadget sends information to a mobile app and allows diabetes patients to keep track of their glucose levels at all times without having to scan or take a finger prick test. Traditionally, continuous glucose monitors are more expensive than their flash monitor counterparts – which record glucose levels by scanning a sensor – but thanks to the NHS agreeing on a new cost-effective deal with manufacturers DEXCOM, they will now be available for NHS patients on prescription at a similar price. The monitor, called Dexcom ONE Real Time-Continuous Glucose Monitoring, uses a sensor no bigger than a bottle cap that attaches to the arm for up to 10 days and measures glucose levels from just under the skin. Patients will receive their starter pack – which will include information on the product and usage, a sensor and transmitter – from the hospital or GP surgery once prescribed, after which they can go to the pharmacy for their repeat prescription. Dr Partha Kar, national speciality advisor for diabetes and obesity said: “This is a huge step forward for Type 1 diabetes care and these monitors will be life-changing for anyone with the illness – giving them more choice to manage their condition in the most convenient way possible – as well as the best chance at living healthier lives, reducing their risk of hospitalisation and illnesses associated with diabetes, which in turn reduces pressure on wider NHS services. “The new deal also delivers on our commitment to get patients the latest cutting-edge medical technology at the best value for taxpayer money – saving the NHS millions over the coming years”. Read full story Source: NHS England, 2 August 2022 You may also be interested in: “I felt lucky to get out alive”: why we must improve hospital safety for people with diabetes Peer support makes a big difference to living with type 1 diabetes Improving safety for diabetic inpatients: 4 key steps - Interview with Dr Partha Kar
  10. Content Article
    Measurement of safety culture – a necessary suite in any Trust's safety measures? Well it seems not! This quick Twitter poll, along with observations from a number of large trusts and discussions at webinars, indicate that culture is not a measure many Trusts have got a handle on. The Patient Safety Incident Response Framework (PSIRF) implementation recommends in the pre-framework preparation that we are meant to be doing culture measurement for this important piece of work to land. With a range of tools around, it’s difficult to know how best to measure this sadly often pervasive and complex metric. There is MapSaF, Safety attitudes, Safety climate and Psychological safety measures. A useful booklet from The Health Foundation, 'Measuring Safety Culture', gives an overview of them all. The booklet also says that Trusts that are measuring culture are usually higher performing. There are a number of companies that provide fee paying links to administer it for you, but without resource it’s unlikely to be widely delivered. Some Trusts take a few of their staff survey questions to guide them rather than send out another survey to all their staff, but there are questions of validity around this practice. We also need to be able to break down results into areas, specialties and sites to measure for improvement. A validated tool to measure safety culture across organisations along with a platform to administer it is yet to become clear and we need a national solution to make its measurement standardised and possible. I'd love to hear if and how you are measuring safety culture and what tools you are using. Add your comments below.
  11. Content Article
    Stephen Durkin, a factory worker from Hereford, died after suffering organ failure from sepsis. The life-threatening condition occurs when the immune system overreacts to an infection, causing widespread inflammation that can damage the body’s own tissue. Michelle Durkin complained about delays in the diagnosis and treatment of sepsis which led to her husband Stephen’s death. She said that the Trust did not carry out proper observations, put him under the critical care team or transfer him to intensive care quickly enough. She also complained that the Trust did not communicate effectively with her about her husband’s condition which meant she was unable to say goodbye to him. Findings The PHSO detailed its findings as follows: Our investigation found that the Trust should have detected sepsis earlier than it did. The Trust did not follow its own deteriorating patient policy to observe the patient every four to six hours within the first 48 hours. National guidance on NEWS states that if the NEWS increases, the frequency of observations should also increase. By the time the Trust saw Stephen, his NEWS had increased significantly. It is highly likely that more frequent observations would have detected this deterioration earlier, which would have prompted the Trust to consider how to treat Stephen’s worsening condition. We found that even when the Trust did detect the deterioration, it did not react appropriately. According to national guidance, it is essential for patients with a NEWS of seven or more to be assessed by a critical care team. The Trust did not do this until ten hours later, when Stephen’s NEWS was nine. We also found that the Trust did not effectively communicate with Michelle about her husband’s condition. When she called the ward, she was not told how unwell he was. If she had been, she could have got to the hospital sooner. We found this would have given her an opportunity to better prepare herself for what was to come, but this option was taken away from her. Recommendations Following PHSO recommendations, the Trust has agreed to: write to Michelle to acknowledge the failings identified in our report and apologise for the impact they had on her. explain what action it will take to ensure all relevant staff involved in Stephen’s care receive training in sepsis awareness. pay Michelle £17,000 in recognition of the injustice she suffered as a result of its failings.
  12. Content Article
    Learning objectives By the end of this course, learners should be able to: summarise the five steps of inequality monitoring in immunisation. describe how to determine the purpose and scope of monitoring. describe how to obtain data for inequality monitoring. describe basic analytical methods to analyse inequality data. apply good practices in reporting the state of inequality in immunisation to the target audience. describe the process of knowledge translation, or promoting the use of data to inform equitable immunization programmes and policies.
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