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London heart centres adopt remote monitoring


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Dr Debashish Das
Image source: Ortus-iHealth - Dr Debashish Das

Eight specialist heart treatment centres in London are to begin a remote monitoring programme for up to 8,000 patients around the capital.

The South and North London Cardiac Operational Delivery Networks are planning to run the London Cardiac Remote Monitoring Programme using the Ortus-iHealth platform.

The programme is supported by £750,000 of funding from the NHS England transformation directorate.

The heart centres at major hospitals will use the platform – developed by Dr Debashish Das (pictured), a consultant cardiologist at Barts Health NHS Trust – to enable patients to submit data through questionnaires on a ‘virtual ward’ dashboard monitored by their clinical team.

This will help clinicians identify any deterioration, prioritise treatment and provide support through by message, video consultation or an in-clinic consultation as appropriate.

The platform can be web or app based and includes functions for consent, aftercare and follow-up.

Responsibility to patients

Stephen Edmondson, NHSE Cardiac Network clinical director, London Region, said: "We have a responsibility to keep our patients as safe as possible whilst they wait longer for life saving cardiac surgery due to the impact of the pandemic. This means we have to identify those patients who are deteriorating and offer earlier intervention when needed.

“The Ortus digital platform which has been procured on behalf of all the major London cardiac centres creates a patient and clinician user friendly digital ward environment to continuously monitor and reprioritise our patients.”

Ortus said London is the first city in the UK to run a remote monitoring programme on this scale. The eight centres that will be involved treat patients from across the capital and from referring hospitals from surrounding counties. 

All the hospitals involved in the programme will adopt the same patient pathways, and the initial focus will be on the heart surgery pathway, reflecting the need to deal with a long waiting list post-pandemic.

Easy communication

Das said: “You cannot just send somebody home with a blood pressure monitor. You need a dashboard to collect and analyse that data, and you need easy communication between the patient and the clinician.

“If I am working at my hospital, I will do a ward round, and look at the observations, and talk to the patient, and make a plan; and if I am working on a virtual ward, I need to be able to do exactly the same things. That’s why we built Ortus-iHealth.

“It collects quantitative data, like blood pressure readings and patient inputted symptoms, and qualitative data, like responses to questionnaires. It displays that data on a dashboard, alongside a communications link to the patient.”

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