NHS Trust trials new reliable remote monitoring model for stroke patients in London
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, CW Innovation – led by Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and its charity CW+ – has co-designed and scaled a number of remote models of care for a range of patients including those with diabetes, HIV, skin conditions and COVID-19.
On 7 December 2021, the trust launched the trial of a new remote care tool called FibriCheck, which enables stroke patients to test themselves at home for atrial fibrillation (AF).
AF is a common heart condition that causes an irregular heart rhythm, leading to an increased risk of developing strokes. It is responsible for a quarter of all strokes, and the vast majority of these are preventable if caught in time. However, it can be intermittent, and people with AF can be asymptomatic, making it difficult to detect.
The FibriCheck app allows patients to check their heart rate and rhythm to test for AF by placing their finger over the camera lens of their smartphone for one minute, which will measure pulse pressure signals. In cases where AF is detected, patients will be called in for a formal diagnosis and treatment.
The trial of FibriCheck is part of the trust’s growing remote monitoring portfolio that enables clinicians to continue to care for patients at home, at work, or wherever they want, without having to come into the hospital. This new project has been introduced at pace thanks to the CW Innovation programme, which launched two years ago to identify, test and evaluate new solutions that improve patient care, patient experience and the way the trust’s hospitals are run.
“This app is a powerful remote monitoring tool to improve AF detection rates and patient outcomes, safely and efficiently,” commented Co-Founder and CEO Lars Grieten at FibriCheck. “We are pleased to be working with the cardiology specialists at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to help improve the quality of life and outcomes for patients with long-term conditions.”
As part of CW Innovation, a staff funding call for new digital innovation ideas called RADICAL was introduced this year, and FibriCheck was identified by the Trust’s Cardiology Team and announced as the winning project. With support from the Rosetrees Trust and Kusuma Trust, funding has been awarded to trial this innovative new project, which will not only test how well FibriCheck detects AF in people who have had a recent stroke, but will also assess patient experience and satisfaction with the app.
Dr Sadia Khan, Consultant Cardiologist at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We have been working on remote monitoring solutions and how we provide health care differently for some years; however, the COVID-19 pandemic has seen us accelerate at pace, using technology to not only improve the care we provide but to really improve the experience of that care for patients and staff.
“We are delighted to be able to trial FibriCheck at the Trust, to monitor stroke patients remotely without the need to come into our hospitals. FibriCheck is quick, reliable and easy to use, and the diagnostics will provide vital information so we can detect AF earlier in people who have had a recent stroke and undertake the next steps in clinical care to reduce the risk of further strokes. I’m confident the app will be a game changer in the way we manage patient care in the Stroke service.”
Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is one of the top-ranked and top-performing hospital trusts in the UK. It employs more than 6,000 staff over its two main hospital sites, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and West Middlesex University Hospital, and across 12 community-based clinics within North West London.
FibriCheck is a digital health company focusing on the development and commercialisation of low-cost, scalable and user-friendly medical-grade mobile applications for better health. Its app, FibriCheck, is a CE-certified Class IIa diagnostic solution to detect heart rhythm disorders such as atrial fibrillation outside the clinical environment using the smartphone camera.