Patients awaiting cardiac surgery at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals have been given additional peace of mind thanks to a remote monitoring technology solution which gives them a direct link to a team of clinicians, while at the same time allowing them to get on with their lives.
Teams at Blackpool Teaching hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, FCMS and Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board are working with the remote monitoring technology provider Docobo on the initiative which is delivering one of the country’s first digitally enabled cardiac surgical waiting lists.
Rachel Haworth, Project Lead based at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals said: “This service aims to reduce the demand on primary and secondary care, including preventing emergency admission and 999 calls. So far, 140 patients have been onboarded with more scheduled to receive their onboarding visits in coming weeks.”
David Rose, Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon said: “For people with complex cardiac conditions, remote monitoring, supplementary to clinical care, can potentially improve health outcomes.
“Lancashire Cardiac Centre is one of the pioneer units in remote monitoring for patients on the waiting list for cardiac surgery. We have enrolled over 140 patients so far, with great patient satisfaction. Thanks to this technology we are able to have a direct link with the patients and be able to early detect any deterioration in their health condition. Patients showing deterioration will be identified, prioritised, and offered support as appropriate.
“As the waiting list for life saving cardiac surgery has become increasingly longer, we have to identify those patients who are deteriorating and offer earlier intervention when needed.”
The project is receiving very positive patient feedback.
Another patient reported: “I had been trying to stabilise my blood pressure with the GP, so this allowed me to keep an eye on my own blood pressure from the comfort of my own home, knowing someone was monitoring any changes.”
Natalie Marsden from FCMS said: “We see this as a ‘safety net’ service while patients are waiting for their surgery, and so that patients have that point of contact. Because of the pandemic, a lot of people on cardiac waiting lists may have been deteriorating for some time and have not necessarily gone to the GP.
“We find that people get to grips with the service really quickly and get comfortable with it. We recently flagged up a patient who had really bad chest pain and shooting pains, we advised him to call 999 and escalated to a consultant.
“He only went to hospital because we were in touch with him. This was really helpful for the family as they felt reassured that this was followed up and we are there as a service.”
Joe McGuigan, Senior Digital Lead at Lancashire, and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board said: “It’s very pleasing that this project is now starting to make a real difference to our patients. As a health and care system, we have had to deliver more care in hospitals due to challenges like Covid, which has added further pressure on our staff – as well as delaying some treatments. Hopefully we can take the good practice and learning from this programme – which has been a real team effort – into other areas across Lancashire and South Cumbria, so care can be delivered in the most appropriate place for patients.”
Rob Halhead, Director at Docobo: “It’s a privilege to work with such excellent people, who are working together so well in order to improve patient care as they wait for their operations. The patient feedback tells us all we really need to know about the value of monitoring and communicating with patients during their time on a waiting list.”
Going forward, patients will be given the option to opt into the service at their initial consultation with the BTH cardiac team, where the consultant will explain the benefits of the service to them. If they choose to take part, they will be onboarded by the FCMS team on the same day.