25 Nov 2020

MedTech Wednesday: NHS invests more in ‘pop-up’ isolation rooms

MedTech Wednesday is our weekly check-in here at Spreckley, where we share all the most interesting and useful healthcare innovation and health technology news and trends.

This week, we look at the latest reports on ways in which medical technology has given healthcare a shot in the arm over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. We also find out more about the latest developments in ‘pop up’ isolation units and virtual visiting services helping both patients and visitors to cope with the stresses of COVID-19 related lockdowns and hospital visiting restrictions.


Pandemic is accelerating the use of health tech

Firstly, The Financial Times reports this week how doctors and hospitals, “have been spurred by COVID-19 to experiment with tech,” noting that:

“Coronavirus has killed hundreds of thousands of people and has strained health systems around the world, but for [Professor] Tony Young there may be a patch of a silver lining. The pandemic is accelerating use of technology to radically advance medicine and save lives in the future.”

Prof Young is both a surgeon and national clinical lead for NHS England, helping to introduce innovations across the UK health service. He told the FT this week: “There are so many fantastic examples of the ways in which technology is empowering our patients and our professionals.

“We’ve talked about the genome, the proteome, the microbiome. Now there is the digitome: how we take all that digital data about you and make predictions for diagnosis and how you might respond to the therapy we are proposing.”


NHS invests in pop-up isolation rooms

Secondly this week, Building Better Healthcare reports that the NHS is stocking up on ‘pop up’ isolation units to help the ongoing fight against COVID-19.

Six NHS hospitals have so far invested in an innovative solution called the Clinell Rediroom – a compact wheeled cart that can be installed in less than five minutes to provide an isolation unit to instantly isolate an infectious patient.

“Resembling a small plastic cart when not in use; the pop-up temporary isolation room can quickly and safely stop transmission of contact and droplet pathogens. It provides a cost-effective alternative to building expensive isolation units and can be swiftly set up in any healthcare setting, even in multi-occupancy bays.”

Professor Val Edwards-Jones said: “COVID-19 is a highly-contagious virus which can spread through direct droplet and human-to-human transmission; and indirect contact such as through contaminated surfaces.

“The virus remains in the air as contagious droplets for up to three hours. For this reason, it is vital that hospitals utilise isolation rooms and, in cases where these are limited, patient isolation units such as Clinell Rediroom to restrict the aerosol transmission of the virus.”


Virtual visiting solution for Kettering

Finally this week, in a bid to help visitors of hospital patients in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kettering General Hospital has introduced a new virtual visiting solution.

Digital Health reports that Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is now offering its patients and their loved ones access to an app to book virtual visits.

The NHS Book a Virtual Visit app, developed by Made Tech, allows patients and visitors to connect when they are unable to be together physically due to COVID-19 restrictions in hospitals. At Kettering General Hospital alone, NHS Book a Virtual Visit has facilitated more than 900 visits across 25 wards, averaging calls of 50 minutes between patients and loved ones, since its implementation in July.

Ian Roddis, deputy chief digital and information officer at the trust, said: “Meeting our patients needs goes beyond physical treatment. As a trust we are wholly committed to being patient-centric. While the pressures of this year have been extremely challenging, we never lost sight of the importance of keeping our patients connected to their loved ones when physical visits had to end.”