COVID-19 presented the NHS with immense challenges in delivering high-quality care in a rapidly evolving and unknown situation. Also, while ensuring that all patients and staff remained safe.
The risk to staff was particularly concerning. This was because the ability for the system to cope with the pandemic was dependent on keeping clinical staff healthy and able to care for patients. Therefore, the need to identify alternatives ways of working was a priority to mitigate against unnecessary risk of staff exposure to COVID-19.
The challenge: finding ways to provide remote care
One of the gastroenterology clinical fellows at the Royal Oldham Hospital was identified as being at high risk for COVID-19. Therefore, he was forced to shield for 12 weeks at home and not allowed to work. The unavoidable loss of such a highly skilled and valuable resource over this period was difficult for the service to manage without.
At the end of the period of shielding, the clinical fellow was able to return to work but was unable to physically see patients. This was because it was deemed to be too risky for him. As a result, the challenge was then to find ways for him to provide patient care or contribute to it by identifying alternate ways of working.
The solution: remote working with Bleepa
With the introduction of Bleepa as the inpatient clinical referral and communication tool for gastroenterology, the clinical fellow was enabled to not only provide patient care but to safely take a leadership role delivering it on behalf of the team.
Bleepa supports remote working and patient-centric communication and collaboration. The clinical fellow is responsible for managing and triaging all new gastroenterology inpatient referrals. So with Bleepa, he can review cases and provide consultation himself without having to physically see the patient, if appropriate, or assigning the case to another colleague who is able to see the patient.
The access to medical imaging, the standardisation of the referral information and the ability to chat with the clinical team using Bleepa means that the clinical fellow is not lost to the NHS but able to contribute at a time when he is most needed. All without risking his own health.
Bleepa provides access to medical imaging and patient-centric chat communication over time and space. All of this makes it a powerful tool for remote working.
The ability for clinical teams to communicate remotely has a number of important applications to address not only the risks associated with the pandemic but access to clinical input in the face of staffing pressures for any number of reasons.