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Carmarthenshire

Innovative technology pilot to monitor heart patients remotely from their homes

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Heart patients across West Wales are piloting innovative new technology that allows clinicians to monitor their health and recovery from the comfort of their home.

In the fight against Coronavirus and beyond, Hywel Dda University Health Board has been working in partnership with Delta Wellbeing to support people with heart problems using a new phone app, called MyMobile, which reports on their condition.

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The pilot programme, which has been supporting heart patients across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire, means changes to a patient’s health, or any response to medication, can be identified at the earliest opportunity ensuring help can be provided if needed.

This new digital approach allows people to record their symptoms and vital signs, including weight and blood pressure, which will be reviewed by the clinician and fed-back to the patient to record progress and flag any concerns.

The technology, which adds to the care already offered by health professionals, also allows patients to have consultations by video helping to avoid unnecessary visits to clinics or hospitals, which has been paramount to minimise the risk and spread of COVID-19 during the pandemic.

This new and innovative way of working will help alleviate some of the pressure the NHS is currently facing. Additionally, some patients using technology said they found monitoring their own health had become a part of their normal daily routine and they would take their readings more regularly.

Speaking about the vital role of telehealth technology to monitor patients’ wellbeing throughout the pandemic, Jill Paterson, Hywel Dda UHB’s Director of Primary Care, Community and Long Term Care, said: “Changes in the way that health care is delivered during the pandemic has been essential. This has helped reduce the exposure and spread of COVID-19 and minimise the impact of patient surges on facilities.

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“As a health board, we have had to adapt the way we evaluate and care for patients using methods that do not rely on traditional in-person services. Telehealth technology has proved to be successful in providing necessary care to patients to ensure their well-being has continued to be monitored regularly and enabling early intervention for further support if needed.”

As part of the pilot, patients receive equipment to take readings, including a blood pressure cuff, weighing scales and a pulse oximeter.

Cardiology specialist nurses will be able to remotely monitor each patient’s symptoms, progress and conduct video consultations when needed to address any concerns. When required hospital visits will be arranged for further treatment and consultation.

Speaking about how this revolutionary way of working has been supporting heart patients across west Wales, Clare Marshall, Heart Failure Nurse for Hywel Dda UHB, said: “Telehealth equipment allows me to manage medication changes from a distance meaning the patient doesn’t need to be exposed to a clinical area with the risk of Covid-19 in the current climate, which patients really like.

“I have been able to prevent a hospital admission for a patient whose heart rate had decreased following a change of medication. I was able to advise him to reduce this medication, record his heart rate over the weekend which I would review using telehealth on the Monday. Due to this change, his heart rate had increased.”

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