Going virtual with patient care

During these challenging times in the midst of this pandemic, Dr Gill Horne, Rowcroft’s Director of Patient Care, explains how Rowcroft is embracing new and innovative video technology in order to provide essential care and support to patients and families.

Rowcroft is using the video platform AccuRX to carry out remote consultations with patients and families, enabling our care teams to reach patients who are shielding from COVID-19, without compromising patients’ safety. The pioneering AccuRX software — used by GPs around the country to conduct virtual consultations with patients — is proving to be more effective in clinical assessments than purely telephone consultations.

“Many of our patients are in the extremely vulnerable category and are shielding from COVID-19, so any visitors into their homes pose an element of risk for them,” explains Dr Horne. “AccuRX is proving highly successful in enabling us to carry out virtual home visits to care for our patients, without any risk to them. Where appropriate, we are of course still visiting patients and families at home and those who cannot connect virtually.”

Rowcroft was planning to pilot video consultations in 2021, but the COVID-19 pandemic has brought this forward. And due to the success so far with the technology, we will continue to use video into the future. Encrypted to uphold data protection, the AccuRX software is enhancing our clinical assessment and providing meaningful connectivity with patients and families.

Dr Gill Horne Director of Patient Care Rowcroft Hospice

“When carrying out consultations, there are some clear advantages of using video over the more traditional use of the telephone,” explains Dr Horne. “Video allows us to see the patient and to visually assess any signs and symptoms associated with an illness. For example, being able to assess someone’s pallor (paleness of skin) or their use of accessory muscles in breathing can influence your management of that patient. Video provides us with important visual clues that we are unable to collect by telephone.”

Another benefit of using the video platform is that it reduces the time spent travelling by Rowcroft’s care teams, thus allowing them to care for more patients. For some Rowcroft staff who are shielding, the video link enables them to continue managing their caseloads and caring for their patients from home; it is helping to keep staff safe as well as their patients.

For Rowcroft, innovative technology has also played a crucial role in providing training during the pandemic. We have been using digital platforms to train our own staff, and we have offered online training and support to care home staff across the region.

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