A hospital in England has made headlines for using virtual wards to enable patients to become the point-of-care, with the aim of reducing hospital stays and/or avoiding patient admissions/readmissions.

With this new ‘connected care’ solution, suitable patients can be managed, and can recuperate, in the comfort of their own home, surrounded by friends and family.

The University Hospitals of Leicester (UHL) NHS Trust became one of the first hospitals in the UK to create a remote monitoring ward for patients with atrial fibrillation who would normally spend two or more days in hospital with close monitoring to assess response to the treatment received.

This pilot scheme has seen patients being given special equipment to monitor their blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen levels as well as a device that produces an ECG that gives detailed assessment of their heart rhythm. Important readings and symptoms are captured via the an app, which allows patient data to be automatically (and securely) transmitted to the hospital, where it can be viewed by clinicians remotely.

If the trial at UHL is successful, this will revolutionise how many more medical treatments and services are delivered by the NHS.