Leading clinicians have piloted a life-saving system that uses pulse oximetry to monitor high risk patients with covid-19. Patients with diagnosed or suspected covid-19 who are considered high risk are given pulse oximeters and trained to measure their own oxygen levels. They are monitored remotely via phone consultation or digital apps by their general practice, community team or hospital in newly established covid virtual wards.

The pilots have yielded impressive results, with a validated study showing a mortality rate of 1% among these high-risk patients, compared with an overall UK mortality rate of more than 14% in the first wave.

NHS England now wants to translate these better outcomes across the country and has instructed all clinical commissioning groups to set up a COVID Oximetry@Home model.

Dr Matt Inada-Kim, a consultant in acute care medicine at Hampshire Hospitals and the national clinical lead for deterioration and sepsis for NHS England, was involved in a large pilot, in the Wessex region, and worked on the national strategy. 

In the presentations below he explains that the Covid Early Warning System is based on oxygen levels being the key to spotting deterioration in covid-19 and why patients need monitoring for silent hypoxia. He shows how GPs, nurses and practice staff can do this on a community scale by keeping patients safeguarded at home in covid virtual wards.