Virtual Wards vital to help NHS tackle ‘substantial’ pressures

First published:
August 12, 2022
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We welcome the Government’s announcement to accelerate the roll out of digital technology to provide an extra 2,500 virtual ward ‘beds’1. They will be in place this winter in a bid to tackle the huge pressures facing the NHS with waiting list backlogs.

We know that virtual wards can, and do, make a difference. They can double clinical capacity and improve patient safety. The evidence is coming in and there is huge support from patients and clinicians because virtual wards can help safely focus the care on those who most urgently need it, whilst helping to spot issues that might otherwise be missed.

Dr Arrash Yassaee, Global Clinical Director at Huma, said: "Virtual wards can be crucial for the NHS. Patients say remote monitoring changes their lives and evidence shows there can be real improvements in health outcomes because clinicians can spot issues earlier. A well-designed virtual ward can also support earlier discharge and help avoid admission, which we know is going to be so important this winter.”


Peer-reviewed research from across cardiac and respiratory care has shown how Huma’s virtual wards have seen 3-4x reduced mortality rates2, increasing oral medication adherence from 85% to 96% in patients with low baseline adherence3, can detect deteriorating patients with almost 90% specificity4, and required 40% less time needed to review patients5.

Separately, reports from NHS and government bodies have shown that when using Huma’s virtual wards clinicians have been able to almost double clinical capacity6, and most recently, seen 19% reduction in outpatient appointments, and patients being medically optimised 76% faster7. This latest work resulted in two cardiac nurses winning the Nurse of the Year8 award and the project being shortlisted for an upcoming HSJ Award9.

Patient feedback:

“To me it saves jumping in the car, parking, walking in, sitting in a queue… She rang me up and she said, ‘those new tablets that you’re going to start tomorrow morning, stop. Don’t do it because your blood pressure is consistently too low.’ As far as I’m concerned, I’m on a daily checkup now without having to move from the house.” (Alun Morgan, 80).”

"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.” (Evan Dobson, 69)

“This app doesn’t just give you the reassurance that you are being monitored by your nurse, it helps you to better assess yourself. One of my greatest joys has always been to play the drums. Thanks to the app, I’m well enough to play again.” (David Watkins, 69)

Clinician feedback: “It has been a fantastic innovation for my heart failure patients and the service as we have used Huma’s digital remote monitoring technology to identify deteriorating patients. I have been able to change the medications and management of patients to keep them well and out of hospital.” Viki Jenkins, Heart Failure Advanced Nurse Practitioner & echocardiographer at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.

“We have a dashboard in our clinic where we’re constantly monitoring all the patients and if anyone is deteriorating from their symptoms, or their temperature or their heart rate goes up or their oxygen levels drop, it immediately flags up on the system and the patient gets a call from a GP within 10 minutes.” Dr Afsana Safa, GP Marylebone Health Centre and Clinical Director, West End & Marylebone PCN speaking about virtual wards run with Huma during COVID-19.

"I've been able to start interventions sooner than I would have done, to avoid hospital admissions”


  6. The full report is available on request
  7. Report by Digital Health Ecosystem Wales (available on request)