Tullamore Hospital Launches Virtual COPD Ward

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The Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Virtual Ward is a new venture that Midlands Regional Hospital Tullamore is introducing in March 2024. This program aims to revolutionize the care of patients with COPD through the utilization of digital technology.

COPD is a debilitating respiratory condition characterized by persistent respiratory symptoms and airflow limitation, necessitating regular hospital visits. Patients and healthcare systems are burdened greatly by this. Upon presenting at the Emergency Department, COPD patients are identified as suitable candidates for this new service and are enrolled in the COPD Virtual Ward with their consent.

At the core of this innovative service is the integration of digital health technology via the Patientmpower App. Through this intuitive application, patients can report their daily symptoms and utilize a pulse oximeter to monitor vital health metrics such as oxygen levels and heart rate on a daily basis. After that, this data is sent straight to the platform used by healthcare providers. Any departures from the desired levels or alarming patterns result in immediate notifications, allowing for prompt action and individualized treatment programs to deal with new problems before they grow worse.

Senior Physiotherapist on the COPD Outreach Team, Claire Connor who has taken the lead on this project, said, “This initiative represents a positive shift in COPD management. By harnessing digital health technology, we are empowering patients to take an active role in monitoring their health, while facilitating timely intervention by healthcare professionals. Our goal is not only to prevent unnecessary hospital admissions but also to empower patients with a deeper understanding of their condition, fostering greater autonomy and improved quality of life.”

This project is governed by Dr Chithra Varghese, Consultant in Respiratory Medicine, with funding obtained through the E-Health Seedlings Project.

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