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Trust reaches major milestone in virtual hospital success story

Posted: 28 April 2022

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West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (WHTH) has reached a major milestone in its ‘virtual hospital’ programme by treating over 100 respiratory and heart failure patients in the comfort of their own homes.

During the trust’s live engagement session on virtual healthcare, consultant cardiologist Dr Dominique Auger was asked how many patients had been cared for using this new approach. Just as she was about to respond, a colleague updated her with the good news that the team had reached their first century.

The trust’s virtual hospital model has flourished from its beginnings as a response to the Covid pandemic. Since its launch in March 2020, more than 6,000 patients have been monitored, supported and treated – and this is continuing. The virtual hospital model is now being rolled out as a way of caring for other conditions at the trust and also nationally.

The main benefit of the virtual hospital model is that it allows patients to recover safely at home, meaning that hospital beds are kept for those who really need them. It has also reduced the length of stay of some patients as those put on the virtual patient pathway can continue their care at home rather than at hospital.

The virtual hospital model enables patients to be monitored via an app. Depending on the health of each patient, they follow a schedule for uploading key health data. Patients are supported with an information pack and shown how to use clinical equipment to monitor their health. The data is monitored seven days a week and includes a daily virtual ward round with a consultant.

When a patient sends in their observations there is a system whereby an alert will let the patient know their data is within the normal range and that no action is needed. The app will also prompt a member of the clinical team looking after the patient to get in touch if observations are outside of normal range and an alert will tell patients on their phone or tablet to contact the virtual hub or the emergency services. Patients still receive test in hospital and if at any point in their care the patient needs to be referred back to the hospital, then this can be quickly implemented.

The virtual hospital model provides care from hospital teams as well as community healthcare from partners such as Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust. As such patients also benefit from visits from healthcare professionals through a joined-up package of care.

Please click here to watch the moment Dr Auger finds out the trust has reached this outstanding accomplishment.

  1. For more information, please contact the communications team on: 01923 436280 or email: For out of hours media enquiries please call the Watford General Hospital switchboard on 01923 244366 and ask for the on call communications manager.
  2. West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust serves people from across Hertfordshire, north London and further afield. It operates from three hospitals; Watford General, St Albans City and Hemel Hempstead. The trust has a catchment area of over 500,000 people and is one of the largest employers locally, with around 5,000 staff and volunteers.
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