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How the pandemic is driving innovation in patient self-management

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced the health service to rapidly adapt its approach to patient care.

Our Patients and Medical Technology Survey found, for example, that 85% of patients had contacted their clinician via telephone, video call or app as routine consultations went digital to ensure social distancing and manage the flow of patients.

The pandemic has also changed the approach to long-term conditions, with patients required to take practical steps at home to manage their own care.

There has also been an uptick in the use, and development, of innovative therapies and medtech to facilitate remote healthcare. These new solutions have the potential to transform care, empower patients, and relieve the pressure on the health service.

Here, as part of our Putting Patients First Week, two Medical Technology Group members explain how digital communications and innovative solutions have supported patients throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, can continue to do so as the NHS recovers, and have the potential to transform the service in the future.

That’s a wrap – innovative compression therapy helps patients stay independent

Since the Covid-19 outbreak, the Lindsay Leg Club has used digital technology to communicate with and support patients by allowing them to actively participate in a virtual, supported, shared care pathway.

The LLC has also promoted patient self-care through advocating the use of new generation compression therapy. The development of the wrap system is an example of an innovative solution for patients which gives better outcomes and increases quality of life and offers considerable cost savings.

It is an alternative, shared, and supportive care solution for people who are unable to tolerate or adhere to other forms of compression or who do not have the right limb shape for hosiery. These may include elderly people or people living with obesity who may find it difficult to apply compression hosiery.

Both the innovative compression therapy and the digital consultations have enabled patients to stay independent by undertaking their own lower limb management via virtual consultations from their own home.

Flash player – how diabetes technology could help even more patients self-manage

Diabetes technology such as Flash or continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) can support people living with diabetes to self-manage their condition with more confidence by offering a way to upload detailed health data remotely and share this with clinicians.

During Covid-19, this has facilitated high quality remote consultations and care for those who have access to this technology, making a clear case to provide access to it as contact with, and support from, healthcare teams is more limited.

However, not every area in England has reached the target to onboard the 20 percent of people with type 1 diabetes who meet the NHS criteria to receive flash glucose monitoring, as outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan.

This local variation persists and risks widening regional health inequalities as remote consultations and increased reliance on self-management become the norm going forward.

#puttingpatientsfirst

September 2020

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