BT launches ‘Virtual Ward’ solution for Healthtech – NHS frontline
UK telco BT has launched a virtual ward and monitoring programme, aimed at giving the NHS and other healthcare providers tools to manage patient care, including apps, AI monitoring and online patient consultation solutions.
Working closely with BT’s internal innovation arm Etc., as well as other external healthcare companies, the telco said that it wants to help healthcare tackle some of the main challenges it faces on the frontline.
BT added that it sought to do this by means of prevention, prioritisation and the monitoring of high-risk groups.
Through one of BT’s new digital health partners, Feebris, for instance, it will help deliver virtual care solutions which use AI and allows clinicians and patients to capture reliable health information in real time and assess the risk of conditions worsening quickly.
The new partnerships with firms like Feebris were set up by Etc. which is working to develop a portfolio of remote monitoring services to support both primary and secondary care providers.
At an event in Holborn, London, this morning Neal Herman, director, Healthtech at Etc outlined how some of its new software was being trialled at GP practices in Warrington.
The trials involved using hardware (provided by medically approved device manufacturers such as Omron) and software, so that patients can monitor their health daily.
Herman added that it was also about helping high risk patients manage their conditions better at home but alerting medical staff if their condition escalated.
“It’s all about reimagining your relationship with healthcare. Rather than coming and saying I’m sick call the doctor, what if the doctor calls you when they notice a decline in some of your vitals, blood oxygen, pulse rate etc,” he said.
BT’s technology platform should also act as a triage, Herman added, helping signpost patients better to the right first port of call – which may not always be on a GP’s list – it could be a direct referral to a physio.
A legal change due to come into force UK next month dictates that when a patient calls up a GP practice, they must be offered an outcome at by the end of the call – meaning that tools like this could prove helpful, Herman added.
A third area Etc is trialling is patient flow – how hospitals can make better use of bedspace “getting people out of beds safer sooner.
“We believe if we succeed in these three areas, we’ll made a big difference. On the remote care platform, we believe we’ll have 1000 patients on there by end of June,” said Herman.
“Currently it’s about 200 but we’re stepping it up safely and slowly. But once we get to 1000, we’ll have proof of concept, proof of value to be able to go onto further scale across the UK,” he added.
Another platform BT has designed in partnership with technology companies includes my mHealth app – a digital therapeutic platform that provides personalised, evidenced-based, digital interventions for patients across four long-term conditions: asthma, COPD, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
With health services facing exceptional demand in the UK and elsewhere, Sultan Mahmud, BT director of healthcare said that the virtual ward and virtual care solutions were launching at a critical time.
“These new virtual healthcare partnerships will help deliver a better service for everyone – enabling clinicians to safely monitor patients at home or via community care, freeing up hospital beds for those who really need them, and relieving the pressure on our frontline services,” he said.
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