The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the burden on healthcare systems in the UK, preventing most normal patient visits.
People with lung disease need regular lung function testing (spirometry), which is difficult to perform, especially in people with severe classifications of all lung diseases. In the UK approximately 12.7 million people have longstanding respiratory illness.
Since March 2020, these patients are not being called in to see the nurse or GP. Post‚’Covid, we are already seeing that there is a high incidence of new patients with severe lung disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Home working for many months has given us all new work tools such as video conferencing and high-speed broadband. We use it in work and keeping in touch with family.
The same could be done in spirometry testing- the technician can be in the patient‚’s home virtually. A service which sends a spirometer device to the patient‚’s home, running software as a web service, accompanied by the means to safely retrieve the device after testing, seems to make sense. Throughout the test session, which normally takes about 20 minutes, the patient and the technician can see and hear each other using technology that they already have.
The clever technology is in the middle, designing a secure medical data web service to take the data from the patient‚’s home to the nurse or doctor‚’s computer in their medical practice.
This is technology that Vitalograph already uses, but at present this secure medical data transmission technology is used only in global clinical trials. We could adopt this relatively easily for use in general healthcare, but until now the demand has not been there.