NHS digital health unit looks for remote monitoring tech in response to COVID-19

The NHS digital health unit NHSX is looking for suppliers of remote monitoring technology as it tries to find large-scale solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With nearly 37,000 deaths so far and around 261,000 confirmed cases, the UK is one of the worst hit countries by the pandemic, and its NHS is looking for ways to continue operating while social distancing measures are in place. 

Remote monitoring would reduce the amount of direct contact between healthcare professionals and patients and could therefore reduce the risk of the virus spreading. 

According to the website digitalhealth.net, successful suppliers will be signed up to a central purchasing system that will offer their solution to the whole public sector. 

The tender notice is open until the end of this week and the system will be continually open to new suppliers. The contract begins on 30th June. 

NHS England already issued a confidential 48-hour tender for provision of online primary care consultations in March in a bid to help the health service cope with the pressure caused by the virus. 

It has already selected 11 suppliers to provide video consultations, and separate suppliers for text messaging, video consultations, and automated triage. 

Practices can use WhatsApp, Skype and other off-the-shelf messaging apps as a short-term measure, according to digitalhealth.net. 

Digital technology is at the heart of the government’s approach to getting the UK out of lockdown too – a contact-tracing app is currently being trialed on the Isle of Wight. 

The separate NHS App, which allows patients to access services using their smartphone or tablet, has already proved popular and helped to coordinate the response to COVID-19. 

In March 2020 when the country’s lockdown measures came into effect, registrations to use the app increased by 111% and the number of repeat prescription requests increased by 97%. 

The number of patient record views rose by 62%, according to figures provided by NHS Digital. 

The NHS Pathways software system was responsible for triaging more than 1.6 million calls to 111 and 999, to direct them to the most appropriate service available. This was a 12.2% increase from the same time last year. 

 

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