The region’s health and care system, with the support of the three Patient Safety Collaboratives (PSCs) and their host AHSNs that cover the south-east, has successfully rolled out a remote monitoring service to those diagnosed with, or suspected of having, COVID-19.
To date, more than 12,000 citizens across the south-east have already benefited from the Covid Oximetry @home initiative by receiving a pulse oximeter and recording their oxygen saturation stats.
These readings are monitored by primary care health professionals, and if the saturation levels drop beneath 95% patients are urgently contacted. In some cases they can be admitted to hospital to avoid them suffering from ‘silent hypoxia.’
Building on existing relationships in their respective regions, the PSCs and AHSNs covering Kent, Surrey and Sussex, and Oxford and Wessex have helped to ensure that the service is now in-place across the entirety of the south east, from Kent to Hampshire, from Sussex to Oxfordshire, and across into Dorset.
Case study: Kent and Medway rollout
Simon Dunn, GP Partner, Heron Medical Practice and Governing Body Member for Canterbury & Coastal, Kent & Medway CCG, said that COVID Oximetry @home has had clinical leadership from the start, which has helped with engagement to drive ambition for supporting those who are COVID positive, at higher risk, and require monitoring to reduce the risk of mortality and morbidity.
“The programme uses learning from other areas to help drive the change (Hampshire and the Isle of Wight) and is now one of the 10 High Impact Changes that have been agreed for Kent and Medway,” he said.
“Partners across all organisations in the system came together to agree the operational model for both reactive and proactive care pathways and a framework for implementation which included specific guidance for care homes. We have already seen the positive impact this has had in identifying early signs of silent hypoxia and being able to intervene early for patient benefit.”
Technology is key to enable citizens to share their readings from home, and the service in Kent and Medway uses the DOC@HOME digital remote monitoring and case management solution, developed by Surrey-based health technology company Docobo.
DOC@HOME collects a range of vital signs, including blood oxygen, blood pressure, weight and temp. Patients can record any symptoms they are presenting with – and receive relevant self-help information via an SMS text message.
Commenting on the initiative Cathy Bellman, Associate Director of ICP/PCN development, Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group, said:
“This new service is vital in the fight against COVID-19 and silent hypoxia as it means that patients can enter their pulse oximetry reading via SMS and clinicians on the DOC@HOME platform can monitor their levels and intervene when necessary. The low-cost SMS option makes it very easy to deploy in large numbers without the need for additional equipment.”
AHSN and PSC colleagues are collectively holding a series of webinars providing updates on support for patients with Covid-19 at home. The first took part on February 2 and speakers included national deterioration clinical lead Matt Inada-Kim, Mark Ainsworth-Smith from South Central Ambulance Service and the Heron Medical Practice primary care CO@h team in Herne Bay, Kent.
A recording of the session can be viewed here, and details of further webinars will be released shortly.
For all the latest information and resources around the Covid Oximetry @home initiative, visit https://wessexahsn.org.uk/projects/388/covid-oximetry-at-home-toolkit