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Pilot programmes launched to transform health care at home

Posted: 1st July 2021

Two pilot programmes that seek to use new technology to improve remote monitoring of health conditions, including cleft lip and palate babies, have been launched in West Yorkshire. 

The Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) has been working with its partners at West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership to spread the uptake of TytoCare’s digital health solution.  

The technology is in the form of a handheld device that allows patients and their families to perform medical examinations anytime, anywhere for a range of health conditions.   

Working in partnership with Leeds Children’s Hospital and NHSx, the virtual consultation and remote imaging capabilities of the TytoCare device are now being trialled with the Hospital’s cleft lip and palate service.  

Usually, parents have to travel to see a surgeon face to face in order for them to see inside the child’s mouth and agree surgical options. But thanks to this new technology, the need for travel is dramatically reduced and a nurse can visit the baby at home, capture high-quality images and send them directly to the surgeon who can review and plan surgical care options.  

Emma Blair, lead nurse for the cleft lip and palate service at Leeds Children’s Hospital said: “Clinical nurse specialists obtain postoperative images and share these with the surgeon to review  post-operative healing. At the moment, the surgeon has to see the patient face to face to do this. Using Tyto technology means we can provide high-quality images that enable better-informed remote clinical decision making. 

“Making best use of digital solutions and delivering more care remotely not only cuts down on travel it helps to avoid unnecessary visits to hospital, especially important right now when people might not want to be in a healthcare environment. Ultimately that means safer, greener, more accessible and convenient healthcare – and people can stay in the comfort of their own home and in familiar surroundings too.” 

The pilot with Leeds Children’s Hospital is one of two TytoCare trials that have launched this week (1 July). 

Affinity Care (South) Primary Care Network in Bradford are using the TytoCare solution to allow its healthcare professionals working in its Home Visiting Hub to conduct enhanced clinical observations and high-quality virtual consultations between GPs and house bound patients.  

Since the start of this year, the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN has worked with Affinity Care to help facilitate the adoption of TytoPro™ device. It allows for additional observations such as high-quality images of the throat, ear drum and skin along with chest sounds, heart sounds and temperature, that can all be captured by a healthcare assistant at a patient’s home. The TytoCare digital platform also enables a live video link to the GP or nurse in the practice so that they can see and talk to the patient and the healthcare professional in their home. 

Siam Murtaza, a Healthcare Assistant at Affinity Care said TytoCare has transformed their ability to capture clinical observations with the patient. Siam said: “Previously, we had to rely on mobile phones to communicate with practice colleagues and were limited to basic observations like blood pressure, temperature and blood oxygen levels. That’s all changed with TytoCare and we hope that the solution will benefit around 60 patients every week.” 

Yorkshire & Humber AHSN advocated for TytoCare’s device to be included in NHSX’s Joined Up Care Programme after seeing its potential in a pilot project in the paediatric department at Bradford Teaching Hospital. Tyto was piloted shortly before COVID-19 first hit in March 2020, with its use adapted in response to the pandemic.  

A further 26 pilot TytoCare projects are due to be rolled out in sites across the Yorkshire and Humber region over the coming weeks, from ventilated patients at home to emergency departments to care homes and is a result of the collaborative work undertaken by the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN and its partners at the three Integrated Care Systems.   

Kate Lodge, Head of Strategic Partnerships at Yorkshire & Humber AHSN, said: “Healthcare staff have been and continue to be under incredible pressure and the increasing backlog of patients waiting to be seen is only adding to these challenges. Our role is to identify innovations that can improve patient care while supporting and in some cases, easing the work of frontline staff by helping the spread and adoption of solutions like TytoCare. We have seen huge clinical interest in this innovation and have been delighted to work with both Leeds Children’s Hospital and the Affinity Care team on helping to redesign and deliver services around individuals and their families.” 

As part of this implementation, the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN has successfully completed the first supplier Digital Technology Approval Process (DTAC) for the region. DTAC is a checklist for commissioners to use when procuring a new product or innovation and the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN has supported the NHS to implement this new process. Through the creation of a six-stage digital implementation approach with supporting materials, the adoption and spread of TytoCare and other innovations beyond the current pilots will be enabled and is set to benefit health care systems and its innovations across England.