Heart patients in north Wales are taking part in a trial of a new app that monitors them via mobile phone.
Betsi Cadwaladr health board is working with tech firm Huma to test if the new software can help those with cardiac problems in their own homes.
The app lets patients have video consultations, avoiding unnecessary hospital visits.
The Welsh government-funded pilot could mean problems with patients’ health are picked up more quickly.
As part of the trial, patients will receive equipment to take readings, including a blood pressure cuff, weighing scales and a pulse oximeter.
Cardiology specialists will be able to remotely monitor each patient’s symptoms and progress, and conduct video consultations to address any concerns. If needed, hospital visits can be arranged for further treatment and consultation.
Heart failure advanced nurse practitioner Viki Jenkins said: “We want to build on the advances made in digital technology since the beginning of the pandemic, and this is an extension of that, but we need to understand how easy or difficult it is for people to use the application, which is what this pilot is all about.
“This is a great opportunity to explore what health services are going to look like in the future – Covid-19 has shown us we have to embrace innovation like this.
“Patients get the interventions they need sooner. It’s quick and easy for me to use… it prevents people having to come into a hospital environment.”
‘Hospital’s the last place I want to be’
Patient Evan Dobson, 69, a retired photographer from Bala who had a heart attack a few years ago, is taking part in a 12-week trial of the app.
“I was a bit sceptical of the app itself, but no problem – I think it’s the most valuable app I’ve got on my phone at the moment.
“There’s someone there monitoring all the time, whereas before I would be sent to hospital and that’s the last place I want to be.”
The pilot is one of five projects to be awarded funding as part of the £150,000 Digital Solutions Fund, looking at new and revolutionary ways to use technology in healthcare.
Helen Northmore, head of digital and artificial intelligence at Life Sciences Hub Wales, said the app was an example of how technology will play an increasingly important role in patient care.
“The traditional pathway is for cardiac patients to regularly attend a hospital appointment and have these readings taken,” she said.
“This application will free up clinicians’ time so they can be there for patients who need them more urgently, and it also saves the patient from having to travel and wait at the hospital to be seen.”
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