A partnership project between NHS Arden & GEM CSU, NHS Black Country and West Birmingham CCG, and Tekihealth Solutions has been successfully shortlisted in the Pilot Project of the Year category at the Patient Safety Awards 2021.
With the COVID-19 pandemic accelerating the use of digital healthcare solutions, as providers looked for ways to continue delivering healthcare services while managing infection risk, NHS Black Country and West Birmingham CCG (BCWB CCG) wanted to examine and evaluate the potential benefits of a telemedicine approach for care homes.
The pilot, which took place at a Wolverhampton care home, was designed to test the effectiveness of a telemedicine approach to providing clinically appropriate remote consultations for care home residents, including the impact on clinical capacity and the avoidance of ambulance callouts and hospital attendances.
Being able to reduce the risks a circulating group of healthcare workers presented to this vulnerable group of patients was paramount but while telephone appointments and online consultation tools were helpful, they were unable to replicate the diagnostic rigour of a face-to-face appointment. Using Teki-Hub, a digital innovation developed by GP-founded Tekihealth Solutions, clinicians were able to remotely undertake full clinical consultations with care home residents using tele-diagnostic equipment.
The Wolverhampton pilot, which was undertaken with funding from Innovate UK, ran for four months in 2020 with 29 virtual ward rounds taking place. The evaluation undertaken by NHS Arden & GEM CSU identified a number of positive benefits to the pilot including a more efficient use of clinical time and a reduction in ambulance callouts and hospital conveyances.
Jatinder Singh, Transformation Programme Manager at Arden & GEM said: “We are delighted that this innovative pilot has been recognised by the Patient Safety Awards. It is essential that care home residents are able to receive continuity of care in a safe manner and this project has shown that, by using the highest quality devices and connectivity, telehealth can do just that. Our evaluation recorded that patients found this a positive treatment experience while clinicians – including GPs and advanced nurse practitioners – were very satisfied with the system and the quality of audio and images provided.”
BCWB CCG has also been shortlisted for Patient Safety Team of the Year, for the work of its quality team in going above and beyond to protect vulnerable residents in care homes and staff across the health and social care system during the pandemic.
Sally Roberts, Chief Nursing Officer for BCWB CCG, said: “These innovative projects are both great examples of the fantastic work being done by our teams across the Black Country and West Birmingham, in what has been an unprecedented year”.
The winners of the Patient Safety Awards - which recognise, reward and thank hardworking teams and individuals for their commitment to improving safety, culture and experience in patient care – will be announced as part of the Patient Safety Congress which will take place on 20 September 2021 in Manchester Central.
The full shortlist is available here.