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Modern technology helps reduce hospital admissions and cares for patients at home

Modern technology is helping reduce pressure on hospital beds on Merseyside by offering COVID-19 patients the opportunity to be monitored and cared for in their own homes via a new initiative.

Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, one of the leading mental health and community health trusts in the country, launched a pilot of the ‘COVID Oximetry@Home’ service in April and began accepting referrals from primary care last month. They plan to soon begin doing the same for patients who have presented to A&E departments.

The innovation, in partnership with digital health company Docobo and part of Mersey Care’s Telehealth Service, is expected to be so popular it will monitor up to 500 Liverpool patients a day, safely and securely, either through an app on a smart phone or tablet, or via Careportals®.

The great thing about this is that it enables patients either with COVID-19 or those suspected of having it, to be cared for in the community rather than adding to the pressure on hospital beds. It allows the nurse, carer or patient to record vital signs such as blood oxygen levels that can help identify silent hypoxia at home and any signs of deterioration in their condition so we can get appropriate medical care to them.”

Joe RaffertyChief Executive, Mersey Care

Since the start of the pandemic, the Telehealth Service has expanded its operation and increased from monitoring 1,700 patients per day to having the capability to offer support to 5,000+ patients per day, including patients from the ‘shielded’ list and providing COVID-19 screening.

The COVID Oximetry@Home service is currently available to all Liverpool CCG patients but Mersey Care is working with other CCGs from across Cheshire and Merseyside to set up referral pathways to support their patients.

Mr Rafferty, who is also lead Chief Executive and Chairman of the Cheshire and Merseyside Out of Hospital Care Cell, added: “We’ve been working hard to try and reduce pressure on hospital admissions and this new service will provide real time support for all our vulnerable patients and those who may be shielding throughout the region.”

Rob Halhead, Chief Operating Officer at Docobo, said: “For us at Docobo it’s a privilege to work with the NHS team in Liverpool and across the region. This collaboration is delivering better health care and is helping the whole ecosystem to cope with the demands and pressures of the pandemic. This technology-enabled service means people stay at home and go to hospital less often.  Early signs of deterioration being detected leads to early intervention. Everyone’s winning.”