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COVID Oximetry @home - digital and data services
We’re delivering digital and data services for COVID Oximetry @home, a service to monitor patients with coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms in their own home or care home.
COVID Oximetry @home involves the remote monitoring of patients with coronavirus symptoms. Patients use a pulse oximeter, a small monitor clipped to their finger, to measure their oxygen saturation levels three times a day.
They record their results using one of the following:
- smartphone app
- web portal
- paper diary
The paper-based option is available at all sites for patients who are uncomfortable with or unable to use a digital solution to record their readings.
Patients are supported by clinical staff locally, so that if they need further treatment they can be admitted to hospital at the right time.
Benefits of the programme
We know patients with serious coronavirus symptoms often do not go to hospital early enough, and this can negatively impact patient outcomes.
Some patient groups more likely to present late include:
- healthcare workers
- BAME patients
For every day of delay in hospital admission the chance of death increases by 1%, observational data suggests.
Our role in national implementation
The COVID Oximetry @home programme is led by NHS England. NHS Digital’s primary role is to deliver Oximetry @home data and digital architecture, and to support an evaluation.
Our role includes:
- sending to Oximetry @home providers a daily list of patients in their area who have tested positive for coronavirus, with indicators included for those who meet the recommended eligibility criteria for Oximetry @home (aged 65+ and/or considered Clinically Extremely Vulnerable and/or are symptomatic at the point of testing)
- collecting data from Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) weekly about patients onboarded and offboarded
- disseminating data for evaluation and management information purposes
- creating new SNOMED codes so that providers can code Oximetry @home activity accurately
- updating NHS Pathways to enable COVID Oximetry @home patients to be identified and triaged effectively
- updating NHS systems to make other services aware that a patient is being monitored by COVID Oximetry @home – this may include changes like adding a flag to the summary care record
- standardising templates to be used in GP systems
- supporting the integration of COVID Oximetry @home apps with other NHS systems
We have also undertaken discovery and research into user needs, including patients, NHS staff and the NHS nationally.
Clinical codes - SNOMED CT
New SNOMED clinical codes have been created for use by COVID Oximetry @home providers.
NHS Digital encourages the use of data entry templates and SNOMED coding to ensure data is recorded accurately.
We're collecting a dataset from clinical commissioning groups, on a weekly basis, using the Secure Data Collection Service (SDCS).
We're asking for the least amount of data possible, to keep admin time for frontline staff to a minimum.
The collection includes information on:
- patients who have started or stopped using the COVID Oximetry @home service
The information will be used to manage and evaluate the service.
Helping providers identify potential oximetry @home patients
We send providers of oximetry @home services a list, every day, containing:
- patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 who live or are registered in their CCG area
- indicators highlighting those patients who meet the recommended criteria for being considered for oximetry @home - those over 65 and/or those regarded as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable and/or those who are symptomatic at the point of testing.
If you are a provider who needs this information and is not currently receiving it, email us.
Information we provide
General patient information:
- NHS number
- given name/forename
- family name/surname
- full patient postcode
- contact number
- registered GP practice
Diagnosis of COVID-19:
- COVID test result and pillar
- Date of COVID result
- Symptomatic indicator
- Lateral flow test indicator
- date of birth
- age over 65 indicator
Clinical extreme vulnerability:
- clinical extreme vulnerability indicator
NHS Digital was involved in a pilot study that focused on the use of pulse oximetry and the remote monitoring of patients with coronavirus at home, then referred to as ‘virtual wards’.
The pilot study focused on three locations:
- Tees Valley
- North West London
The study aimed to address the clinical problem that patients with severe coronavirus sometimes present to hospital relatively late – mainly due to the fact that in coronavirus oxygen levels can fall to dangerously low levels with very few symptoms.
During the pilot, we worked with academic partners to develop a dataset for both primary and secondary care. This also included the oximeter reading entries from patients. We facilitated the data collection from the pilot sites and then disseminated this for analysis.
If you are part of a local team at a CCG, a provider or a supplier establishing a COVID Oximetry @home pathway, and have questions for NHS Digital on any of the elements of the programme listed above that relate to our role, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Version 1: 22 January 2021. We process patients’ personal data in order to provide the COVID Oximetry @home programme. This notice outlines what data is collected, how it is processed, and what we do with it.