Virtual wards: keeping patients safe at home
Imagine a world where patients could receive the same standard of care from the comfort of their home, rather than being in hospital.
With advances in digital health this dream is fast becoming a reality for patients and clinicians across the country. Smartphone apps, wearable devices, and platforms specifically designed to deliver remote care are transforming how we think about care.
The latest iteration of digital health comes in the form of virtual wards. The word ‘virtual’ can often have a polarising effect, but virtual wards don’t serve to eradicate interaction; instead, they seek to augment patient-clinician interaction, rather than act as a direct substitute for it.
For example, virtual wards provide a vital lifeline for people with frailty or acute respiratory infections. Everything from face-to-face consultations to monitoring a patient’s pulse can now be done in a virtual ward, which helps to free up bed capacity and relieve the strain on already stretched NHS resources.