2011 Software and Telehealth
Winner and Finalists
The Winner in the Software and Telehealth Category was Kathryn Vowden and Brenda King from Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for their work developing a novel ‘Telewound’ service providing remote support for wound management to nursing homes. Chronic wounds are poorly diagnosed, managed and treated particularly in community and care home settings and this is made worse by a lack of access to skilled tissue viability nurses. This idea is to use readily available equipment such as digital pen and paper technology and a mobile phone with camera to securely capture and transmit images and information about the patients wound to a remote wound care expert who would offer support to the local staff. A clinical trial is underway with 32 nursing homes in Bradford and Sheffield. Trial data is not yet available however early case examples suggest that the remote TeleWound system is allowing earlier wound care interventions offering the potential for savings in dressing costs, nursing time and improved healing times. It has already prevented unnecessary patient admissions to hospital. Feedback from the nursing homes has been very positive and they have identified a number of benefits to the system including the linked educational input and the potential for the system to improve the patient’s quality of life.
The other finalists in the Software and Telehealth Category were Steven Wood and his team at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Howard Last from Oakley Medical Practice in Leeds, Alaina Challans and her team from Doncaster and Bassetlaw NHS Foundation Trust and Cathryn James from the Yorkshire Ambulance Service.
Steven Wood and his team at Sheffield Teaching Hosptials NHS Foundation Trust have developed a Clinical Workflow Manager for the Rheumatology Clinic. Out-patients attending a busy clinic at any major city centre hospital can find it an extremely confusing place, dealing with check ins, making sure they don’t miss their turn and additional hospital staff are usually required to chaperone patients. Whereas the project brief was to design a more efficient check in kiosk for the Rheumatology clinic, what they actually delivered was a complete integrated patient pathway system that manages the patient journey from the moment they set foot in the clinic to the moment they leave. The impact has been huge in terms of the way the department operates. Significantly patient time spent in clinic has been cut from 54 minutes to 32 minutes, bottle necks have been eliminated, the need for patient chaperones reduced and they have been inundated with requests from other departments to introduce a similar system.
Howard Last from Oakley Medical Practice has developed an Asthma Webapp to promote self-management of asthma by patients and to increase their understanding of their treatment. In the UK, asthma affects 5 million people. Emergency hospital admissions cost the NHS £61 million each year. It is estimated that 75% of hospital admissions with asthma are preventable. The asthma webapp has been developed to address the needs of patients with asthma and to enable healthcare professionals to deliver best practice in asthma care. Initial feedback has been positive, the web app has been well received. There is a need to undertake more formal evaluation in terms of patient benefits, user acceptability and health economic benefits.
Alaina Challans and her team from Doncaster and Bassetlaw NHS Foundation Trust have develped the "DBH i-tracker". It has been claimed (Daily Telegraph Feb 2011) that up to half of the beds in the NHS are occupied by people who could be discharged home or in to nursing homes. Whilst this might be wild speculation any system that can speed up discharge is worth looking in to. At Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospital they have come up with an impressive system i-Tracker, that promises to significantly improves the discharge planning process for the patient, the GP and other community services who are all kept fully informed of what’s happening with specific patients as they get close to discharge. The benefits within the hospital are obvious but significantly and for the first time GPs and community colleagues can access live data regarding their patients, and their current discharge status, whilst still in hospital. This replaces the old process where the GP would often receive a letter informing of discharge after the patient was back at home.
Cathryn James and the team from the Yorkshire Ambulance Service have developed an alternative to 999 for telecare alarm services and patients. Last year Yorkshire Ambulance answered over 700,000 emergency calls as well as making a further 1 million non urgent patient journeys. Looking to see how they could improve their services they noticed that a high number of emergency calls were coming from telecare monitoring organisations who would routinely called 999 particularly for patients who fall. YAS worked with 2 local organisations who both have thousands of customers with alarm pendants who typically were calling 999 around 600 times each month. They jointly developed new clinically based guidelines for the staff to use when deciding whether a 999 call is needed. There is an option to direct the call to a YAS clinical advisor who speaks directly to the person who has pressed the alarm and agree an appropriate response. During a 3 month pilot, direct 999 calls from monitoring services were reduced by 30%, on average, with the majority of the remaining calls being referred to the YAS clinical advisors who were able to assist 2 out of 3 callers without the need for a blue light emergency.