A remote monitoring scheme which has helped hundreds of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland patients be cared for in their own homes instead of hospital has been shortlisted for a national award.

More than 1,000 patients have benefitted since the project was launched in April 2020, as a reaction to the newly emerging pandemic.

The patients have experienced better health outcomes for their long-term conditions and reduced risks of catching Covid-19, while the NHS has seen reduced pressure on hospital beds.

The project is in the running for the HealthTech category of the HSJ Partnership awards, which champion joint working between healthcare providers and their suppliers. The winner will be announced on March 24, 2022.

The project was a joint initiative between Leicester-based Spirit Health and the two major NHS trusts – University Hospitals of Leicester and Leicestershire Partnership Trust.

The patients involved had a variety of heart or lung conditions, or had been in hospital with Covid-19.

They were given medical devices so they could measure vital indicators such as blood pressure, temperature and oxygen levels at home. This was fed into digital technology platform CliniTouch Vie, supplied by Spirit, and then passed to clinicians. They could see which patients were doing well, and which needed advice or further support including contact with hospital specialists for an expert opinion if required.

In some cases this remote monitoring meant patients never needed a hospital appointment, in others it meant they could be discharged back to their own home early.

Zoe Harris, cardio-respiratory service lead at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, said: “Our approach is to always put the patient at the heart of this process. We haven’t thought about organisational boundaries but have instead tried to walk in the patient’s shoes as they move along the care pathway so we fully understand their perspective. As a result, I hope we’ve created a model that genuinely supports their needs.

“This achievement and the success of this service is down to the excellent partnership working with Spirit Digital and the hard work every member of the respiratory, heart failure, rehab and admin teams have put into supporting patients during the pandemic using these digital pathways. Being shortlisted for this national award is a real credit to them.”

Irene Valero-Sanchez, consultant respiratory physician and clinical lead for integrated care at University Hospitals of Leicester, added: “The pandemic has made us think thoroughly about how we can coordinate different teams to improve the way we work with patients, carers and clinical teams. Our main aim is to give our patients the best possible care and reassurance, even more so in these challenging times, and a digital approach can help us achieve that goal. It also means we can be smart about how we use our resources so that we’re able to cope with a bigger caseload of potentially deteriorating patients more efficiently.”

Noel O’Kelly, clinical director at Spirit Health, said: “At a time when the NHS is facing constant pressure, it’s more important than ever to adopt and embed new ways of working that enable patients to receive timely and safe care. It’s also crucial to provide the highly skilled healthcare teams with access to key clinical information to aid their prioritisation of care and to enable higher caseloads. Being shortlisted for this award is a huge testament to the collaborative work we have been doing to help provide brilliant care to patients across the region.”

The scheme saved more than 700 bed-days compared to conventional treatments. The oldest patient was 91, with the average age being just under 77.

The remote monitoring service was recommended by 92 per cent of patients.