A ‘virtual hospital’ that cares for people with lung disease and heart failure in their own home using the internet has been shortlisted for an award.

The virtual hospital nursing team monitor readings remotely and will call to check-in up to four times a day. 

If any readings are concerning, a patient can quickly be seen in person or transferred to hospital if needed.

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Devices such as oxygen saturation and electrocardiogram monitors link to an app back at the hospital.

This allows people to be discharged earlier while still being looked after in the same way they would be in a hospital ward, with regular calls and visits.

The creation of this service has meant South and West Hertfordshire Health and Care Partnership (HCP) is shortlisted in the Place-Based Partnership Health Service Journal award.

Virtual hospital clinical lead Dr Niall Keenan said: “The service is a great example of how our partners of South and West Hertfordshire HCP are working together and integrating services to make patient experience better and improving care.

Watford Observer: Clinical staff in virtual hospital. Picture: South and West Hertfordshire HCPClinical staff in virtual hospital. Picture: South and West Hertfordshire HCP (Image: West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust)“We are delighted for the work of our virtual hospital to be recognised in this way and hope we might even inspire other colleagues across the UK to pursue and put their ideas and innovations into practice too.”

The service built on an initial Covid-19 virtual hospital, which was launched at the beginning of the pandemic to care for patients with the virus.

Since December 2021, the virtual hospital has helped over 230 people with heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder.

The trust said there has been positive feedback from patients treated by the virtual hospital and added that staff providing the services reported an improved sense of working together.

Watford Observer: Oxygen Saturation recordings. Picture: South and West Hertfordshire HCPOxygen Saturation recordings. Picture: South and West Hertfordshire HCP

The award recognised the potential for the practise to be replicated elsewhere in the country.

HSJ editor Alastair McLellan said: “On behalf of all my colleagues, it gives me great pleasure to congratulate South and West Hertfordshire Health and Care Partnership on being shortlisted as a finalist in the category of Place-Based Partnership Award.

“We never forget that the award ceremony is not just a celebration within a night, but a platform to recognise the hard work of all our health and social care staff, all year round.”

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Winners will be selected following a live panel judging stage, ahead of the HSJ Awards 2022 awards ceremony on November 17.

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