An innovative remote monitoring scheme in Tees Valley, which has been helping patients manage COVID in the comfort of their own homes whilst providing early identification of deterioration, has been awarded the Primary Care Initiative of the Year award in the prestigious annual HSJ Patient Safety Awards in Manchester on 20th September.
The COVID Oximetry @home service, established by Tees Valley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Hartlepool & Stockton Health, ELM Alliance, Primary Health Care Darlington, South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, the Academic Health Science Network and North East and North Cumbria Respiratory Network: Tees Valley Covid Oximetry @Home, has supported 1345 patients across Tees Valley over the past 14 months.
The programme began in July 2020 as one of only three nationally to loan oximetry equipment, digitally enabling COVID patients to self-monitor their condition from home, by using a pulse oximeter device to measure blood oxygen levels and an app to record results, with continuous monitoring and support from nursing staff. Following the success of the three pilot areas, a national programme was then rolled out which offered all GP practices pulse oximeters to be used for the
@home oximetry service.
A ‘virtual ward’ system also enables hospitalised covid patients to be discharged early to self-monitor from home, with ongoing care and support from respiratory nurses, improving safety, releasing hospital beds and delivering better outcomes for patients with pre existing respiratory conditions.
Patient feedback has been incredibly positive, with 97.5% of COVID Oximetry @home patients locally having reported that they found the oximetry kit easy to use, 97.6% described their experience of receiving COVID care at home good or excellent and 95.1% felt reassured by accessing the service.
Dr Janet Walker, medical director, NHS Tees Valley CCG and Chair of the COVID Oximetry @home project board said:
“It’s fantastic that NHS staff from the GP Federations across Tees Valley in partnership with hospital colleagues and the CCG have been recognised for the excellent and innovative service the COVID Oximetry @home service has been delivering to patients, embracing digital technology to provide better connected, more personalised care in people’s homes including care homes.
“The service is a great example of the NHS working together to develop solutions, improve care and prioritise safety for the benefit of patients across our area. A huge thank you to all those involved.”
Dr Nicola Hutchinson CEO for the Academic Health Science Network, North East and North Cumbria added: “This is a fantastic achievement for the Team working across this project, especially during such difficult times. This work led to improved patient outcomes and saved lives. The Award is fantastic news for the region and all of the individuals involved should be extremely proud.”
The NHS in Tees Valley will continue to support patients who develop COVID by monitoring their symptoms at home where appropriate, throughout the Autumn and Winter. The service will form part of a series of measures to give patients maximum protection over this period, including flu and COVID booster vaccines for eligible patients, COVID vaccines for 12 to 15 year olds and the ‘evergreen offer’ of covid vaccination to anyone over the age of 16 who has not yet come forward for both doses.
To find out more about the COVID Oximetry @home service please visit https://www.england.nhs.uk/nhs-at-home/