Coronavirus: Helping GPs with vital signs monitoring at home supporting online and telephone consultations

16 April 2020

Coronavirus: Helping GPs with vital signs monitoring at home supporting online and telephone consultations

GPs are now seeing just seven in every 100 patients face-to-face because of the coronavirus outbreak, following a marked shift to online and telephone appointments across England.

Last year fewer than 1% of appointments were conducted by video link, and 80% were in person.  Social distancing and the need to protect NHS staff has changed this dramatically within three weeks. Now 100% of patients are first triaged and only 7- 8% have face-to-face appointments. Most consultations take place by telephone rather than video link, BBC analysis shows.

It is helpful if a patient can succinctly report their physiological signs measured at home to the GP during these virtual appointments and can describe how these may have changed.

Keeping a diary of physiological signs, symptoms and medication taken using the Activ8rlivesHealth+Wellness App helps patients report succinctly to their GP to get the assistance needed with their long-term health conditions such as COPD, asthma and heart disease.

Aseptika, an SME British company, has ramped-up its supply of self-monitoring devices to consumers, Local Authorities and the NHS since the start of the pandemic. Successful experience in training and supporting older patients with underlying cardiovascular or lung diseases as part of the Active+me programme (which can now be delivered remotely) demonstrates how patients gain health literacy and understand their health conditions – vital skills during what could be a prolonged period of shielding.

Where a patient at home requires assistance with their more recent medical history, a family member can support them using remote monitoring through Activ8rlives to review vital signs and can advocate on their behalf. The NHS is reporting reduced rates of attendance at A&E for heart attacks and non-Coronavirus related respiratory exacerbations and fear that patients are delaying the treatment they need. Remote support can provide encouragement for family members to seek early help from NHS services when there are declines in vital signs.