Remote monitoring pilot launched to support mental health patients in Wales

A six-month pilot is underway to deploy remote monitoring for mental health patients across two Swansea-based care homes, Hengoed Park and Hengoed Court.

Delivered by Swansea Bay University Health Board (SBUHB) and Life Sciences Hub Wales, the remote monitoring programme will be deployed through Spirit Health’s CliniTouch Vie digital health platform. The CliniTouch Vie remote monitoring platform enables clinical teams and clinicians to provide remote care for patients.

Identifying deteriorating mental health amongst patients is already a vital service provided by care homes. But experts believe that supporting this care with additional remote observation offers valuable potential to increase monitoring capacity and promote both the independence and well-being of patients.

CliniTouch Vie allows care home staff to log resident’s responses to pre-set questions via the digital platform. The information, along with vital sign readings from patients, is then available for the clinicians at the in-reach nursing team, who are responsible for monitoring the care home. Patients can therefore be reviewed remotely, assisted by a priority traffic light monitoring system. Intervention methods such as a consultation and medication reviews can be carried out instantly, without a visit to the care home being necessary.

The collaboration between Swansea Bay University Health Board and Spirit Health was vital in developing the question set for patients in this first-of-a-kind pilot for Wales. By defining the platform for specific use in a Welsh health board setting for mental health monitoring, it’s hoped that the pilot could demonstrate effectiveness to be adopted further across Wales.

The pilot will look to trial a sample of 70 patients from across the two Hengoed care homes.

Senior woman wearing safety protective mask at home and talking to nurse holding digital tablet. Back view of young doctor visiting old woman for routine health checkup during covid-19 pandemic. Young general practitioner and elderly patient wearing face masks in a private medical consult during coronavirus and flu outbreak.

Dawn Griffith from Swansea Bay University Health Board said: “This pilot has the potential to enhance the support we can offer for the mental health and well-being of our patients. Closely monitoring our patients is something already done by our in-reach teams, but by digitising monitoring it allows us to identify the needs of patients in a more efficient way to be able to advise the best care for each individual. The benefits we hope to see from this include more regular and efficient monitoring, preventing unnecessary hospital admissions, and have the ability to flag potential issues earlier on.”

The pilot is one of several remote monitoring technologies to be funded as part of Welsh Government’s Covid-19 Digital Solutions Fund and is supported by teams from the Life Sciences Hub Wales through the Digital Health Ecosystem Wales (DHEW). The DHEW brings together industry, clinicians, policy makers, academics, innovators and funders to create an environment of digital innovation in Welsh healthcare.

Delyth James, DHEW Programme Lead, said: “Supporting residents in care homes with their mental health is a vital, but often complex, process. This project works to streamline the process of providing mental health support to residents of care homes, whilst ensuring the standard of care remains at the same high level. Through the use of remote digital technology, this initiative will not only support holistic care but will help identify patients with deteriorating mental health conditions more efficiently.”

Spirit Health’s CliniTouch Vie platform enables clinical teams and clinicians to provide remote care for patients.

Dr Noel O’Kelly, Clinical Director at Spirit Health, said: “At Spirit Health, we are excited to partner with the Welsh Government and Life Sciences Hub Wales to expand our technology pathways into a new area, with a clinical mental health pathway to assist care homes. We’re proud to play our part and introduce our digital solution, CliniTouch Vie, to help patients with mental health issues and provide them with the support and intervention they need, while reducing pressures on the health system.”

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