Care home residents are set to benefit from new technology that offers easier access to a GP while minimising risk.
It has been revealed that the care sector is to be hit hard, with figures released this week expected to uncover more than 5,000 COVID-19-related deaths in care homes across England and Wales.
And, with care homes now at the centre of the outbreak, British med-tech company, Medicspot, is rolling out a remote diagnosis hub that allows at-risk residents to be accurately assessed by a GP without the need for a face-to-face visit.
The NHS-approved video-conference hubs come with connected devices that enable clinicians to take real-time vitals during an online consultation.
GPs can assess the patient’s temperature, oxygen levels, and heart and lung health via a remote examination which is facilitated by the carer.
Improving the digital links between care homes and other parts of the health system is essential if we want to do even better at providing holistic care to care home residents
There are significant time savings for the GP, who does not need to travel to the care home as a matter of routine. And only 6% of patients go on to needing to be seen face to face.
Willow’s Medical Centre, a GP surgery in Leicester, has recently installed Medicspot across four care homes it looks after and found significant benefits in time saving and efficiency.
Dr Vinay Gupta, a GP partner at Willow’s Care Home in Leicester, said: “I was introduced to Medicspot through my partner, Professor Rishabh Prasad, and made it a reality operationally with my other partners. Feedback has been very positive and it has been a particularly-useful tool for diagnosis in the current pandemic.
“It has reduced the time of one care home visit from up to an hour down to just 15–20 minutes and so will continue to be exceptionally useful, even after the outbreak has passed.
“I believe incorporating more technology will be the way forward for healthcare and we will see much more remote diagnosis come into play across the healthcare system.”
Sir Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive, and Amanda Pritchard, NHS chief operational officer, recently announced their advice for the introduction of ‘weekly virtual care home rounds’ in a letter to health officials as the NHS brings forward a package of support for care homes as a collaboration between community and general practice teams.
This innovative technology significantly improves efficiency in providing healthcare to care homes and importantly allows residents quick access to a GP when required
Dr Zubair Ahmed, a GP and Medicspot chief executive, said: “This innovative technology significantly improves efficiency in providing healthcare to care homes and importantly allows residents quick access to a GP when required.
“Improving the digital links between care homes and other parts of the health system is essential if we want to do even better at providing holistic care to care home residents.”
Eleven care homes in Leicester and Nottinghamshire are using this new technology, with training and installation provided by Medicspot, supported by a strong supply chain through its East Sussex manufacturer.