Pathfinders Specialist and Complex Care centre for physical health needs in Nottinghamshire and Kirksanton Care Home in Millom, Cumbria, are the latest care homes to trial an innovative telemedicine unit which allows GPs to complete detailed assessments on patients remotely – saving time and improving patient safety during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Teki-Hub telemedicine solution, developed by pioneering GPs Dr Stephen Katebe and Dr Omobolaji Iji, is already providing a solution to the additional risks of in-person consultations during the COVID-19 pandemic in 18 care homes in England and Scotland,.
Unlike standard video consultations, the Teki-Hub unit includes high quality diagnostic equipment, enabling GPs and other clinicians to undertake virtual care home rounds, and respond to emergencies quickly, safely and efficiently. Teki-Hub can use WiFi, mobile or satellite networks to connect reliably to GP practices, community services or hospitals, with care home staff administering tests as directed by the clinician.
The equipment includes a no-touch infrared basal thermometer, and set of digital stethoscope, otoscope and tongue depressor attachments, allowing GPs to conduct thorough assessments of a patient’s respiratory, ear nose and throat, and heart health. The in-built video consultation platform allows clinicians and their patients to communicate easily, discuss test results and agree next steps.
The Hub reduces the need for clinicians to visit care homes and the need for residents to visit healthcare settings. In addition to improving patient safety, associated costs such as PPE and travel time and mileage are minimised.
Trudy Harrison MP, Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Prime Minister and MP for Copeland (including Millom), said: “I’m delighted that some care home residents in my constituency will be among the first to benefit from remote diagnostics consultations with their GPs. Tools such as Teki-Hub have the potential not only to reduce infection risk during a pandemic but also to help deliver care to more patients more quickly and it’s great to see more organisations trialling these new innovations.”
To date Teki-Hub has been used to conduct approximately 180 remote consultations. Initial evaluation by NHS Arden & GEM CSU shows clinicians have been very satisfied with the quality of the audio and images, and ease of system use, with an average satisfaction score of 4.7 out of 5. Over 90% of patients who have responded to a post-consultation survey rated the overall treatment experience as excellent.
Initial trials also indicate that use of Teki-Hub can reduce the need for ambulance callouts and emergency hospital admissions.
Dr Stephen Katebe, co-founder of Tekihealth Solutions, said: “As GPs ourselves, we fully understand the barriers to providing swift and comprehensive care to care home residents – particularly during COVID-19. With Teki-Hub installed, clinicians can see up to six patients an hour, with no lost time spent travelling, and without the additional risks currently associated with in-person consultations. We’ve seen a significant increase in demand for pilots as NHS organisations look to enhance the quality and safety of care, particularly during the pandemic.”