Solent NHS Trust is piloting digital wards in conjunction with Doccla, offering patients with frailty personalised care to help reduce hospital admissions.

The new virtual wards will be available to patients across Portsmouth and Southampton with suspected or known frailty. Patients are closely monitored and reviewed daily from their own home, once accepted into the virtual wards programme. Treatment is adjusted when needed and the service is fully integrated with SystmOne.

Doccla’s technology is delivered through a mobile app and clinical dashboard through a provided device.

Solent NHS Trust chief medical officer Dr Dan Baylis said: “We are really excited to be piloting this type of virtual wards in Portsmouth and Southampton with the digital expertise of Doccla. 

“Virtual wards, running across the country, provide a suitable and safe alternative to hospital care. The use of technology is largely untapped to date in terms of this patient group, so we welcome the learnings and findings that this pilot will bring to help develop and enhance our care for those in our communities, helping them to keep out of hospital wherever possible.”

Doccla has its own full clinical team of specialists who will be supporting Solent NHS Trust with the clinical monitoring. This will help free up capacity and support the trust.

The company is providing an end-to-end solution that covers software integration, logistics and customer service. In addition, it will also offer tech support for any patients unfamiliar with digital tech and how to use it. This further helps to ease the pressure on the trust’s staff.

Dr Greg Edwards, chief medical officer for Doccla, said: “Doccla is proud to commence this pilot with Solent NHS Trust and we look forward to delivering virtual ward technology to Portsmouth and Southampton residents.

“Virtual wards keep people out of hospital and deliver immense benefits to the health service: for every £1 the NHS spends with Doccla, they can expect a return of £3.”

The NHS is aiming to establish 24,000 virtual ward ‘beds’ by December 2023. Doccla has the capacity to look after up to 50 frail patients at any one time for Solent NHS Trust.

If this virtual wards trial is successful the trust hopes to roll out the scheme more widely.