COVID-19 Virtual Wing Helped Singapore Health System Save Over 3,500 Bed Days

COVID-19 Virtual Wing Helped Singapore Health System Save Over 3,500 Bed Days

“Thermometer, blood pressure meters and oximeters are connected by Bluetooth to a tablet, which transmits readings to our dashboard without patients having to key them in. The tablet is also used as a teleconsultation device with a simple interface,” Dr Ko said. Patients who do not own mobile devices or are unable to use online forms are equipped with Biofourmis’ Biovitals Hospital@Home solution; a suite of connected health devices. “Both dashboards by BotMD and Biofourmis feature the ability to send push alerts to our care team if any of the vital signs exceed pre-set thresholds, so that the care team can take action and follow up on patients.”

“Teleconsultation is done over audio or video calls to patients and/or their family members by our care team. We speak with them to address their concerns and also perform a virtual clinical examination, which may include a sit-to-stand test. This involves patients measuring their oxygen levels, doing one minute of exercise by moving from a sitting to standing position repeatedly, and measuring their oxygen level again. If this drops significantly, we may be more worried about COVID-19 affecting a patient’s lungs,” explained Dr Ko. “This also served to increase hospital bed capacity by extending the hospital ward to the home by way of a ‘virtual ward’.”

Patients’ vital signs are also monitored to spot early signs of deterioration. Those who own mobile devices and are able to use online forms are registered onto a vital signs chatbot which was co-developed with healthtech firm BotMD. The chatbot reminds patients to key in their vital signs three times a day. “The NUHS@Home programme, which was at the time taking care of non-COVID-19 patients at home, saw an opportunity to provide such care for COVID-19 patients at home,” said Dr Stephanie Ko, Clinical Lead for NUHS@Home and NUHS COVID-19 Virtual Ward, and Consultant, Division of Advanced Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, National University Hospital (NUH).

— Yeo Ai Wah, NUHS  MEETING THE CHALLENGE “The NUHS COVID-19 Virtual Ward team has supported patients in end-of-life care based on requests from patients or their family members. This allowed patients to spend time with their family during their final days.”

The care team can visit patients at their homes if necessary to take blood tests, change wound dressing, send medication, or perform other nursing procedures. They can also administer intravenous medication to lower the chances of high-risk COVID-19 patients developing severe pneumonia. “Apart from [being able to recover] in the comfort of their home, treatment is similar to a COVID-19 treatment facility or hospital – our doctors and nurses do ward rounds on them daily or every other day through teleconsultation and ensure patients measure their vital signs routinely and monitor them,” added Yeo Ai Wah, Senior Nurse Clinician, Advanced Practice Nurse, CareHub, Regional Health System Office, NUHS.

The News Highlights

  • COVID-19 Virtual Wing Helped Singapore Health System Save Over 3,500 Bed Days
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