North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust is aiming to deliver a Covid-19 virtual ward service to both Peterborough City and Hinchingbrooke Hospitals.

After securing funding from NHSX, the trust will use the CliniTouch Vie platform to monitor patients on the virtual ward seven days a week, which will allow patients to be discharged earlier from hospital yet still receive the appropriate level of care. The move will free up resources at a time when the NHS is particularly stretched.

Spirit Health – who is providing its CliniTouch Vie platform – will support the virtual ward with its in-house clinical team providing interim weekend monitoring to ensure continuity of patient care.

Dr Robert Buttery, consultant in respiratory at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, said: “Empowering and enabling patients to complete their recovery in their own homes represents a significant development in how we deliver healthcare. We’re pleased to be partnering with Spirit to provide the virtual ward service and continue delivering the best levels of care for our patients.”

The technology has been designed to offer stepdown discharge to Covid patients whose needs could be met at home. The technology enables teams to monitor patients recovery remotely and be alert to any signs of deterioration.

Patients are required to complete a bespoke Covid-19 question set on admittance to the virtual ward and to monitor their vital signs daily. This data is automatically analysed in real-time by CliniTouch Vie, which then generates a risk-scored list of prioritised actions so that clinicians can direct their efforts to where they are most needed.

Noel O’Kelly, clinical director at Spirit Health, added: “We’ve seen first-hand the effectiveness of a virtual ward to help support Covid-19 patients and we are pleased to be partnering with North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust to introduce our technology to support patients across the region.

“Covid-19 continues to place immense pressures on the NHS, but we’re proud to play our part in designing and developing digital solutions that delivery brilliant virtual patient care, improve outcomes and support health systems.”

The launch of North West Anglia’s virtual ward, follows on from a similar deployment to Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust – who opened its second covid virtual ward in February 2021.