Oct 29, 2020

Northern Ireland care homes adopt tech to manage Covid

covid-19
care homes
remote monitoring
healthcare app
Leila Hawkins
2 min
Northern Ireland care homes adopt tech to manage Covid
The digital service will help staff identify Covid-related symptoms...

Care homes in Northern Ireland are adopting new digital technology to help support staff through a second wave of Covid-19 this autumn and winter. 

Digital Health and Care Northern Ireland (DHCNI), led by the Government's Department of Health, has partnered with Health and Social Care Trusts across Northern Ireland to develop digital technology that will support staff by providing an overview of the health status of their residents. 

The new service - currently being piloted - aims to help care workers identify residents at risk and who may need to be assessed by a registered nurse or doctor. 

To do this care workers complete a daily questionnaire with residents adding any symptoms associated with COVID-19. The answers are then fed into an app which sends the data to community-based health care teams, such as district nurses and home nursing teams. 

If any responses fall out of the range set for the resident, clinicians are alerted so they can intervene in their care with appropriate support.

The service is being provided by Inhealthcare, a digital healthcare company that creates remote patient monitoring solutions, among others. 

It has so far been tested in a small number of care homes with approximately 45 residents being monitored daily. Findings from the pilot will allow practitioners to look at how this digital healthcare intervention could play a part in supporting care homes in the longer term.

So far it's been showing benefis in providing additional training for care home staff to monitor residents for any signs of deterioration. Claire Büchner, Assistant Director from DHCNI, said: “This is a proactive and anticipatory approach to supporting care homes and should certainly be considered as part of a care pathway. It will provide assurance to residents and their relatives that care workers are being supported by health professionals."

“It is evident that care home staff knew their residents very well and were aware of subtle changes in their behaviour indicating the early onset of signs of illness" she added. 

As the pilot projects began, Chief Nursing Officer for Northern Ireland, Professor Charlotte McArdle said: “I am very supportive of this important piece of work and how it is developing. It will be reassuring to residents and relatives that a timely response to healthcare needs will be available.

“Combining the ability to record observations through a digital platform with responsive clinical nursing assessment will add a new dimension to the provision of nursing care and treatment available to residents who develop healthcare needs in residential care homes.”

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May 11, 2021

Walmart, the next health tech giant - a timeline

telehealth
digitalhealthcare
medicationapp
virtualcare
Leila Hawkins
3 min
Walmart, the next health tech giant - a timeline
The retail giant looks set to focus on health tech. We look at key moments in Walmart Health's history...

Retail giant Walmart has been building its healthcare division for a number of years, but its recent acquisition of a telehealth firm and the slow down of its clinic expansion suggest its focus has now shifted to health tech. We look at key moments in Walmart's history in healthcare. 

2013

Walmart announces plans to provide "full primary care services" by 2020. The plans include opening clinics in underserved, urban areas, where the chain has many existing stores. 

2014

A series of “Healthcare Begins Here” events launch at Walmart stores, where consumers are given information on leading healthy lives, as well as free blood pressure, blood glucose and vision screenings, and access to vaccinations. 

2018

As part of the organisation's commitment to pursue a more data-centric approach to worker safety, Walmart partners with StrongArm, manufacturers of safety wearables. Staff begin wearing FUSE, a small sensor worn between their shoulder blades that detects injury risk. Within a year, ergonomic injuries decreased by 65%. 

2019

Walmart opens its first health centre in Dallas. The 10,000 square-foot "super centre" offers primary care, X-rays and ECG, counselling, dental, optical, hearing and community health services. Prices are affordable regardless of health insurance status. 

The same year a partnership with Doctor on Demand is announced, a telehealth company offering mental health services. As part of the agreement Walmart employees are able to access these services for free. 

2020 

The first health and wellness clinic opens in Springdale, Arkansas, providing primary care, dental care, vision and hearing services as well as behavioural health, fitness and wellness education classes.

Walmart acquires CareZone’s medication management technology. CareZone's app reminds users to take their medication and provides refill reminders. The acquisition complements Walmart's existing pharmacy service. 

The Wall Street Journal reports that Walmart is in talks with Verizon to implement 5G wireless service in select sites, to help boost digital health services. 

As part of its COVID-19 response, drive-thru testing is offered at hundreds of Walmart Neighborhood Market drive-thru pharmacy sites, free of charge through Humana

The retail giant teams up with the Department of Veterans Affairs to offer telehealth services to veterans at stores in Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa. 

2021 

Walmart Mexico signs a deal with Jack Nathan Medical Corp, a Canadian tech-focused healthcare provider. This will see 153 new medical clinics open within stores across Mexico, taking the total in the country to 203. 

Walmart announces it is acquiring MeMD, a multi-speciality telehealth provider. The acquisition will enable Walmart Health to provide access to virtual care across the US. At the same time it is reported that plans to open further clinics are deliberately slowing down. 

"Today people expect omnichannel access to care, and adding telehealth to our Walmart Health care strategies allows us to provide in-person and digital care across our multiple assets and solutions" Dr. Cheryl Pegus, executive vice president for Health & Wellness said of the announcement. 

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