Dr Geraint Lewis, Director of Population Health at Microsoft and inventor of virtual wards, visited Glenfield Hospital in Leicester this week to find out how their Clinitouch-powered community acquired pneumonia (CAP) virtual ward service operates.
After recently announcing its availability on Microsoft Azure Marketplace, an online store providing applications and services for use on Azure, Geraint was able to see Clinitouch in action within the NHS.
This virtual ward was set up in late 2022 and allows patients diagnosed with CAP to continue their treatment and recovery from home whilst being monitored by their healthcare team through Clinitouch. Since its launch, the ward has had over 100 patients go through Clinitouch’s service, with the oldest patient being in their late 90s.
After meeting with our CEO Chris Barker, Geraint caught up with Leanne Small, Specialist Intervention Pneumonia Nurse (SPIN) Lead, who explained how the virtual ward runs on a day-to-day basis.
Julie Skeemer (SPIN Lead) and Tracey Knight (Virtual Ward Programme Lead) also joined from NHS Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland to offer their insights into both clinician and patient experience.
From showing the patients how to use the tech, to ensuring care is prioritised correctly through Clinitouch’s red, amber, green rating system, Leanne explained the details of the daily running of the CAP service.
Dr Geraint Lewis, who along with two colleagues invented and opened the first virtual ward in the early 2000s using just an Excel spreadsheet and a landline phone, commented:
“Visiting the pneumonia team at Glenfield was a real eyeopener for me. We’ve seen virtual wards evolving so much over the last few years, and it was brilliant to see how far these types of specialist virtual wards have come and to hear the team’s plans for what’s next.
“The pneumonia virtual ward team is hugely impressive, and the quality of care they are delivering is second to none.
"The nurse specialists who run the ward were clear about how their patients value being able to recover in the privacy and comfort of their own home, while still having the reassurance of being looked after systematically by the virtual ward team using the systems and processes that traditionally have been reserved for hospital in-patients.”
Alongside operational details, the SPIN team also highlighted the benefits of the CAP virtual ward, realised in just a few short months. These included helping the healthcare team to better manage their caseloads, freeing up beds for other patients and reducing costs for the NHS.
Chris Barker added: “It was brilliant to meet Geraint today and learn more with him about the Clinitouch-powered virtual ward.
"A shoutout for the amazing work the SPIN team in LLR are doing embracing the platform to improve patient outcomes.
"I was also given the added bonus of a new patient story that made my hairs stand on end! Hearing real life experiences from clinicians on the front line showcases what a different digital health tech can make!”
Read more about our CAP pathway.