Opinions

Remote health pathways response to Covid-19 response and recovery

Written by: Morag Hearty, TEC Programme National Lead for Remote Health Monitoring, NHS Lanarkshire

Published: 01/09/2020

The National Lead for Remote Health Monitoring reflects on the changes and developments that have taken place during the past few months.

The past few months have been some of the busiest the world of digital health and care has ever experienced! A roller coaster of ever changing landscapes has required speedy and effective decisions to be taken to provide both initial responses and future planning to support our stretched clinical services.

At the very front of everyone’s mind however, was what this would mean for our citizens and how could we support them to access the right care, at the right time, wherever they were.

A new “working title” of Remote Health Pathways (RHP) replaces the previous clunky Home and Mobile Health Monitoring (affectionately called “Hm Hm”).

We found we were able to take what we already had in place and simply (no – not really that simple, but we kept positive!) step them up to a new level.

Our existing Scottish TEC network enabled us to bring together a vast experience which proved to be invaluable and we could not have made the progress without their unstinting support.

Working collaboratively with partners from the Digital Health and Care Institute, Modernising Patient Pathway Programme, National Services Scotland and our e Health and Clinical leaderships enabled a fast procurement (but with due diligence) of a remote monitoring solution – InHealthcare.

This solution has not only the capability to provide Covid-19 monitoring but also offer remote care pathways for a wide range of other clinical services.

A number of other bespoke solutions are within the innovation pipeline for specific clinical purposes for example the COPD monitoring for patients on home oxygen, an app for dermatology images to be used by GPs and a new diabetic monitoring solution. Other innovations are aimed at supporting care homes to provide increased care for their most frail residents.

During the past few months emerging evidence, together with a realisation that “normal service” will have to be a “new normal” has indicated the need to provide digital systems capable of acting as a catalyst for service re-design while maintaining clinical safety.

I started by putting our citizens at the heart of our digital world and I will end by emphasising that digital is not the answer to everything, but, if we can provide the means for patients to be reassured and monitor “what is normal for them”, give prompts to seek advice or urgent help, link them to other resources and help motivate some vital lifestyle changes along with reducing the footfall and pressures in our clinical areas, then we will be meeting our aims!

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