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Home » Respiratory » How toolkits and technology can benefit the patient journey

Dr Karen Mullen

VP Country Medical Director, UK & Ireland, GSK

Finding solutions to support patients, doctors and nurses through COVID-19 and beyond.

By exploring innovative healthcare technology to help identify, prioritise and prepare patients for review, GSK want to support the NHS to address the backlog of respiratory patients caused by the challenges of the pandemic.

Identifying the challenges and opportunities

During the COVID-19 pandemic, GSK has considered how it can support the NHS to meet the demands and the backlog of patients, especially as winter is approaching with additional pressures to the system. We are doing that by asking ‘how’ care is administered as well as ‘what’ care is administered for respiratory patients.

The NHS is providing an incredible level of care during this time, demonstrating solutions for patients and medical professionals But we’re also aware of the demands on time, resources, and the challenge of how to identify, prioritise and review patients to ensure respiratory care can continue across the UK.

We’ve seen alternative approaches adopted quickly, with GPs taking appointments onto the phone and online. Now it’s time to look at how we can use innovation to improve respiratory care in these new circumstances and beyond. Whilst these cannot replace an in-person review, how can they be evolved to bring benefits to patients and the NHS long term?

We firmly believe the innovation and change we are seeing across healthcare will help the NHS during the pandemic.

Identifying the patients most at risk

We saw opportunities to share our expertise and sponsor the development of practical tools and solutions to support medical professionals to identify patients and prioritise them.

The co-ordination of annual reviews for patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) requires a lot of time and resources but are key to maximising patient care and prioritising limited resources. GSK have sponsored the development and delivery of an Asthma and COPD Audit and Review Toolkit.

Developed in partnership between the Midlands Practice Pharmacy Network and Prescribing Decision Support Ltd at the Centre for Medicines Optimisation team at Keele University, this free toolkit is a resource designed to help medical professionals identify those patients who are at greater need for a review. It works by tracking a series of avoidable risk factors. Detecting recognised symptoms as warning signs allows doctors and nurses to take pre-emptive action to reduce preventable symptoms.

Completing COPD assessment tests remotely

In addition to identifying patients most at risk, we also found a method to help acquire information on how patients are managing their COPD. Alongside a multi-disciplinary group of international experts in COPD, GSK supported the development of the COPD Assessment Test (CAT), a clinically validated questionnaire.

We co-developed and sponsored the delivery of a COPD Florey survey with accuRx, which integrates CAT and the modified Medical Research Council (mMRC) test into the survey, built within the existing accuRx platform. Sent as a text message, patients are able to complete the assessment and send the results back directly to the GP, allowing them to review and decide on the next steps in their care and acquire relevant information in advance of any patient review. It has been designed to help medical professionals quickly identify how patients with COPD are currently managing their condition remotely.

Looking to the future of respiratory care

GSK are investigating future respiratory care. We created the Remote Reviews Resource Hub, a dedicated space for medical professionals that covers considerations for remote reviews. We also funded two national surveys of patients and medical professionals on remote respiratory care, and sponsored a roundtable facilitated by Wilmington Healthcare to discuss further solutions to support respiratory patients.

We firmly believe the innovation and change we are seeing across healthcare will help the NHS during the pandemic, reducing the demand on medical professional time and resources, and taking us towards a future where health technology can support patient care.

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