The surge in the number of COVID-19 patients in Greater Manchester has provided the opportunity for two hospitals to deploy a new wireless monitoring platform which will enable clinicians to identify and predict deteriorating patients faster and with less nurse-to-patient contact.
Originally planned for use in clinical research, the technology holds the promise of saving many lives in Manchester, and many thousands more elsewhere, if rolled out across the whole country.
Earlier this week Dr Indy Kapila, intensive care consultant and chairman of the North West Regional Consultants Committee of the British Medical Association, deemed the current situation in critical care units across the region as ‘very concerning’. And he said that while units do have capacity ‘at the moment’, beds may start to run out ‘over the next week or so’.
This allows hospitals to preserve capacity for those COVID-19 patients who need escalated care and is also enabling healthcare providers to offer the necessary care for patients being treated at home
Now, to ensure critical care beds are available for only the sickest COVID-19 patients, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust and the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) have implemented the Patient Status Engine, a Class IIa CE-Marked and FDA-approved state-of-the-art monitoring platform to monitor patients both in hospital and at home.
The PSE, designed and developed by UK company, Isansys Lifecare, automatically collects continuous physiological data, including heart rate, respiration rate, heart rate variability, ECG, oxygen saturation, blood pressure, and body temperature. It then uses these measures, together with nurse-scored data such as consciousness levels, to calculate a minute-by-minute NEWS 2 score, the standard early warning measure of patient deterioration used by NHS hospitals that enables rapid identification of those patients most in need and their clinical care to be escalated.
Professor John Radford, director of research at The Christie, who is leading the RECAP project which is monitoring patients recovering at home with the PSE, said: “The technology offers us a way of keeping a close eye on our patients while they’re at home.
“We hope it will help us detect when a cancer patient with COVID-19 is deteriorating and needs to be reviewed in hospital.
“This is the first time this technology has been used for patients who aren’t in hospital in the UK, so it’s truly innovative, and if successful, could be used in other areas of medicine.”
The Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) and The Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester are using the PSE as part of the COntinuous Signs Monitoring In Covid-19 patients (COSMIC) study to monitor COVID-19 patients in hospital.
This is the first time this technology has been used for patients who aren’t in hospital in the UK, so it’s truly innovative, and if successful, could be used in other areas of medicine
Clinicians aim to identify in advance patients who will deteriorate and predict those who will need intensive care treatment.
Dr Anthony Wilson, intensive care consultant at Manchester Royal Infirmary, where approximately 10-20% cent of hospital inpatients with COVID-19 will need to be admitted to intensive care, said: “The intensive care team at MFT has cared for many people with the COVID-19 infection in the last few months. This new technology may allow us to intervene earlier and give patients a greater chance of getting better.”
Professor Fiona Thistlethwaite, medical oncologist at The Christie, added: “Unfortunately some patients who are suffering from COVID-19 on our hospital wards can become seriously unwell.
“By using the PSE, we hope to be able to identify these patients early and this means we can optimise their management without the need for them to go to intensive care.
All indications are that COVID-19 infections and hospital admissions will continue to rise, so we all need to do what we can by adhering to safe and socially responsible behaviours
“We can also monitor the patients’ vital signs on a screen located in a different part of the hospital and we hope that, eventually, this will mean that as well as keeping our patients safe, we can reduce exposure to the virus for our staff.”
And Keith Errey, chief executive of Isansys Lifecare, told BBH: “All indications are that COVID-19 infections and hospital admissions will continue to rise, so we all need to do what we can by adhering to safe and socially responsible behaviours.
“At Isansys we are privileged to be able to support the frontline clinical teams by providing our technology and predictive tools that enable earlier step-down and discharge of patients in hospital while at the same time ensuring COVID-19 patients at home remain safe.
“The PSE has the capability to expand overall critical care capacity by continuously monitoring patients and establishing higher-dependency beds in lower-acuity areas of the hospital.
“This allows hospitals to preserve capacity for those COVID-19 patients who need escalated care and is also enabling healthcare providers to offer the necessary care for patients being treated at home.”