The National Health Service (NHS) is the UK’s publicly funded healthcare system, providing comprehensive medical care to millions of patients every year. In recent years, the NHS has implemented various innovative solutions to improve healthcare delivery, with the most recent being the virtual ward.
The virtual ward concept was developed in Croydon Primary Care Trust and over the past two years has been rolled out in other communities across the UK, with a target of 40-50 virtual wards per 100k people, to provide patients with medical and social needs within their own homes or care facilities.
Factors that are critical for the virtual ward to succeed is a sustainable model, allowing increased productivity for healthcare professionals and that meets patient demand and satisfaction. Many virtual wards also use advanced technologies like apps, wearables and other medical devices such as the TRITEMP, currently being used in virtual wards across the UK and enabling clinical staff to easily check in and monitor patients’ recovery.
Whilst the UK is pending the national workforce plan and the digital, data and technology workforce plan, the shortage of NHS workforce and skills presents a huge challenge for the NHS to deliver virtual wards at scale.
Virtual ward expansion must be a considered holistic digital project for the NHS England. Alongside healthcare professionals, we are championing the implementation of the virtual ward, as we know that done correctly, with the right innovative medical devices such as TRITEMP, virtual wards can ensure patients can get back to recovery after treatments, with the same level of quality of care in the comforts of their own home, this also means that clinical time is reduced considerably.
In this blog post, we will discuss how the NHS virtual ward works, its benefits, and how it has impacted healthcare delivery in the UK.
What is the NHS Virtual Ward?
The NHS Virtual Ward is a concept that brings hospital-level care to patients who require medical attention, but are not admitted to a hospital. The virtual ward is made up of a team of healthcare professionals who monitor patients remotely, ensuring that they receive the care they need from the comfort of their homes. The virtual ward concept is designed to reduce hospital admissions and improve patient outcomes.
How Does the NHS Virtual Ward Work?
The NHS Virtual Ward is a collaboration between the hospital and the patient’s healthcare team. Patients are equipped with remote monitoring devices, which collect vital health data such as temperature, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, and pulse rate. The data is transmitted to the hospital’s systems allowing for the patient’s condition to be monitored in real-time.
The healthcare team uses the data collected to determine the patient’s health status and make any necessary changes to their treatment plan. Patients can communicate with their healthcare team via messaging platforms or video conferencing to discuss their health status or any concerns they may have.
Benefits of NHS Virtual Ward
- Improved Patient Care: The virtual ward allows patients to receive medical care from the comfort of their homes, which can lead to better health outcomes. Patients can recover faster in their home environment, reducing the risk of hospital-acquired infections.
- Cost-Effective: The virtual ward is a cost-effective alternative to traditional hospitalisation. Patients who are treated in the virtual ward require fewer hospital visits, which can significantly reduce the overall cost of healthcare.
- Increased Bed Availability: Virtual wards can help reduce the strain on hospital beds, which are often in short supply. Patients who require hospital-level care but are not admitted to the hospital can receive the care they need without occupying a hospital bed, allowing more critically ill patients to access these beds.
- Time-saving: Healthcare professionals have more time to focus and prioritise as with the implementation and support of innovative and trusted technologies, they can apply themselves in ways that best optimise their time
- Better Patient Experience: The virtual ward provides patients with personalised care and access to their healthcare team, improving their overall experience. Patients can communicate with their healthcare team easily and have their concerns addressed promptly, which can lead to higher patient satisfaction levels.
Impact of the NHS Virtual Ward
The NHS Virtual Ward has had a significant impact on healthcare delivery in the UK. The concept has been particularly useful during the COVID-19 pandemic, as it has allowed patients to receive medical care from their homes, reducing the risk of infection.
In conclusion, the NHS Virtual Ward is an innovative solution that has revolutionised healthcare delivery in the UK. It provides patients with hospital-level care from the comfort of their homes.
The TRITEMP is currently the thermometer of choice for virtual wards across the UK. We have been implemented since Covid due to our accuracy and ease of use.