Remote monitoring reaches 1,000th patient milestone
UHS has become the first trust in the country to remotely monitor 1,000 heart patients – the second highest number in Europe.
The devices, which can be implanted under the skin of people suffering from heart failure, collect information on a patient’s health at home and send it via the internet to hospital.
Led by consultant Professor John Morgan, the cardiology team at Southampton General Hospital has been using the CareLink system since a 2006 pilot study.
Now, every patient fitted with an implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD) is checked remotely – allowing staff to assess the condition of 40 patients in the time it would take to see nine in person.
“Patients with ICDs can have a lot of cardiac disease problems, but we also need to regularly check their devices are working properly, so there are two main reasons we need to monitor them regularly,” said Prof Morgan.
“By monitoring them remotely, not only do we prevent patients having to travel and wait and then spend time with a specialist, we can also intervene if we see they are becoming unwell and treat them before they need to come to a clinic or be admitted.”
A recent review revealed the team would need an additional 432 outpatient clinics every year to meet the demand for follow up appointments.
Meanwhile, patients and staff are already seeing the benefits of a new CareLink smartphone app, which sends a text message alert to a users mobile phone with a patient’s name if it has recorded an abnormality.
“With the computer programme we use, we can only see which patients are showing problems when we log in but, with the new CareLink app, we receive a notification and can investigate immediately,” said cardiac technician Becky Gough.
Last year, Prof Morgan and his team received a £3.8 million grant to launch the first major study of remote monitoring technology in the UK involving more than 2,000 patients across nine sites.