From June 2020, NHS England will provide patients with cystic fibrosis and those recovering from coronavirus with devices and apps so physicians can track their condition remotely as part of the NHS drive to deliver connected, assisted, personalized care to more individuals in their own homes.
People with cystic fibrosis are classified as being at extreme coronavirus risk, and the government has been advised to follow specific shielding advice.
From June 2020, NHS England will be helping patients with cystic fibrosis who are six years of age and older to get a spirometer to measure their lung capacity, and an app to share this information with their physician.
The National Network for Cystic Fibrosis has praised home-based spirometry as 'the most important intervention' for patients with cystic fibrosis.
At the same time, some patients with COVID-19 given devices will be seen in a separate trial, which can help spot any dip in their blood oxygen levels while recovering at home.
The NHS studies the use of oximeters in conjunction with app-based check-ins with doctors, making it easier to see whether people need to be re-admitted to the hospital.
The new oximeter service is being tested with over 150 patients at sites in Watford, Hertfordshire and north London, with NHSX, the digital transformation unit of the NHS, partnering with Huma, the British digital health start-up.
Clinicians in 'virtual wards' are able to track vital signs of patients – including temperature, heart rate, and saturation of blood oxygen – in near-real-time, receiving alerts if they suggest a patient is deteriorating so that further evaluations and care can be arranged.
Since then, the service has been extended to additional sites in West London, with proposals for additional pilots in other parts of the country, including high-risk patients who have recently tested COVID-19 positive.
If the trials show that the model is safe and beneficial to patients, they could help inform the national roll-out ahead of the coming winter.
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