MedGizmo - End of the thermometer as first NHS hospital trials wireless monitoring
20.07.2015, 11:53   The Telegraph

End of the thermometer as first NHS hospital trials wireless monitoring

By Sarah Knapton, Science Editor 19 Jul 2015

The initial trial will take place on 100 patients recovering from bowel surgery who are at significant risk of problems.
Nurses will be able to monitor vital signs remotely with a new patch



The era of a nurse diligently making the rounds with a thermometer may be coming to an end after a British hospital began trialling new technology which monitors vital signs remotely.

St James’s University Hospital, in Leeds, has become the first to ask patients to wear a lightweight wireless patch which checks heart rate, respiration and temperature.

The patch takes readings every two minutes and sends the data wirelessly to hospital IT systems. If the readings exceed pre-set thresholds, alerts are issued to nurses on handheld devices who can then respond immediately.

The initial trial will take place on 100 patients recovering from bowel surgery who are at significant risk of problems.

It is hoped the early warning system will help nurses spot any deterioration quickly to before life threatening complications emerge. It could also reduce the need for more expensive treatments and shorten hospital stays.

If the trial proves successful it could be rolled out throughout the NHS.

David Jayne, Professor of Surgery at St James’s, is responsible for monitoring the programme to see if it is safe and is cost effective.

“Post-surgery, patients’ health can deteriorate rapidly,” said Prof Jayne. “In these circumstances, it is important that clinicians are able to intervene as quickly as possible.

“The wireless monitoring system has the potential to play an important role in improving patient care in this area.

“During the evaluation, the system will be compared with standard hospital monitoring to determine if it allows earlier detection of post-operative complications. If successful, the project will inform larger studies involving the technology throughout the NHS.”

The trial is being funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the research arm of the NHS and the patch has been made by British technology company Sensium Healthcare.

It is the latest in a raft of technological reforms that were announced by the NHS in June.

Within five years patients across the country are likely to be able to go online and speak to their GP via videolink; order prescriptions or see their entire health record as part of widespread digital revolution of healthcare in Britain.

NHS patients with long term illnesses could soon be able to monitor their conditions remotely through high-tech clothing and wearable gadgets which will link directly to their medical records.

Apps which remind patients to take their medication are also likely to be rolled out following a successful pilot on Tyneside.

The patch monitors vital signs then transmits them to a central computer which flags up concerns

NHS England’s National Director for Patients and Information, Tim Kelsey, is also looking at the feasibility of turning the entire NHS estate into a free Wi-Fi zone.

Wi-Fi would reduce the administrative burden on doctors, nurses and care staff, currently estimated to take up to 70 per cent of a junior doctor’s day, freeing up more time to be spent with patients.

Life Science Minister George Freeman said: “This latest trial has the potential to bring huge benefits to patients and staff and highlights why the NHS is the ideal place to test new digital technologies.”

Last year Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter said Britain was on 'the brink of a personalised healthcare revolution that could scarcely have been predicted a few years ago.'

Health experts are hoping the digital revolution will free up resources and allow people to monitor their own health rather than relying on professionals. It is estimated that going digital will save the NHS up to £5 billion over the next decade.

By 2018 nearly three million people are expected to have at least three long-term medical conditions like diabetes and dementia, resulting in growing demand and pressure on health and care services.

Health experts are hoping the digital revolution will free up resources and allow people to monitor their own health rather than relying on professionals. It is estimated that going digital will save the NHS up to £5 billion over the next decade.

Anthony Sethill, the CEO of Sensium Healthcare, which developed the SensiumVitals patched said: “This trial with St James’s, one of the UK’s most highly regarded hospitals, is an important step forward for SensiumVitals.

“Working with the hospital, our aim is to demonstrate that the system delivers on its promise to improve patient care, shorten hospital stays and significantly reduce healthcare costs across the NHS.”

The patch could be rolled out across the NHS is successful

20.07.2015, 11:53   The Telegraph
Image by The Telegraph
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