Nicole Allan on how virtual care can improve healthcare outcomes for patients

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The NHS is working to create more integrated health and care services that wrap around the patient and enable them to take more control of their own treatment and care.

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Technology is a key enabler for this agenda, which has been given new impetus by the arrival of coronavirus and the need to keep patients out of hospitals and clinics whenever possible.

Orion Health is a provider of the integrated digital care records that enable professionals working in different organisations to share information and create new patient pathways, while laying the foundation for care planning and population health management.

Its software solutions include a patient portal, Orion Health Engage, and a platform for creating personalised monitoring plans, Orion Health Remote Patient Monitoring.

Enhancing potential

In the Maximising the potential of virtual care to better serve patients roundtable coming up on 13 October as part of the HSJ Digital Strategy Virtual Summit, HSJ reporters, Orion Health specialists, and UK customers will discuss the evolution of these technologies, how they have come into their own during the covid-19 outbreak, and their role in post-covid services and integrated care systems.

Orion Health product director Nicole Allan says: “Orion Health was one of the first companies to create a patient portal and we have worked with customers to develop its functionality, as thinking about how to engage patients has come on in leaps and bounds over the past few years.

“Before the coronavirus emergency, we were already starting to work with customers who wanted to explore how Orion Health Remote Patient Monitoring could help them to reduce hospital visits for patients with well-managed conditions who were still being called in for check-ups.

“Since the coronavirus emergency, we have seen a significant increase in that interest, because it has become a priority to keep patients living with chronic conditions safe at home whenever possible and to free up the time and resources in hospitals.

“RPM enables a care provider to create a personalised monitoring plan for a patient, who can use it to record vital signs and other health information from home. The patient then receives advice or a clinical intervention, depending on the data they enter.

“RPM can be deployed as a large-scale, passive remote monitoring solution to wider populations, and supports measuring activities that are either device driven or measurable through other means. The solution also does not require continual monitoring by patients or providers and enables timely and targeted interactions based on input. It identifies the critical moments when care providers can offer specific, targeted intervention most effectively.

“Increasingly, customers want to offer video consultations as one of their interventions, to build on the rapid roll-out of video calling platforms that we have seen over the past few months. So, we are working to integrate RPM with their video platforms, to create a more effective toolset for them.”

Orion Health supplies integrated digital care record technology to some of the most advanced information sharing programmes in England, including Connecting Care and the Dorset Care Record, which are part of local health and care record exemplars.

In Northern Ireland, its technology underpins the Northern Ireland Electronic Care Record, which has been trialling Orion Health Engage with dementia patients and has recently extended its use to diabetes patients.

In Scotland, the Golden Jubilee National Hospital has also been using Engage to support patients in its adult congenital cardiac service and has a planned programme to extend to additional cohorts such as orthopaedic patients.

At the roundtable, the latest virtual care capabilities will be discussed, as well as the project evolution, challenges, lessons learned, and plans for the future from NHS organisations who have started on the journey.