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This programme has now ended

COVID Oximetry @home and COVID virtual wards

We are supporting health and care systems across our region with the rapid roll out of two models of enhanced remote monitoring for COVID-19 patients - COVID Oximetry @home and COVID virtual wards.

COVID Oximetry @home is designed to support patients in primary and community health settings. It is an enhanced package of monitoring (of symptoms and oxygen saturations) for patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 who are at risk of future deterioration. This includes both patients living in their own homes and residents of care homes.

COVID virtual wards is a secondary-care-led initiative to support early and safe discharge from hospital (step down care) for COVID patients. It has already been implemented in some parts of the country where it is having an impact in reducing emergency admission and builds on the COVID Oximetry @home model.

A table showing the differences between COVID Oximetry @home and COVID virtual wards (credit: Matt Inada-Kim)

Pulse oximetry and remote monitoring guidance has been published by NHS England and NHS Improvement along with standard operating procedures for COVID Oximetry @home and COVID virtual wards.

COVID Oximetry @home

How does COVID Oximetry @home work?

Dr Matt Inada-Kim is a consultant at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the National Clinical Lead for Deterioration/Sepsis. In this webinar he outlines how virtual wards with pulse oximetry can spot early deterioration in patients with COVID-19.

How can we support?

We have been commissioned by NHS England and NHS Improvement to support health and care systems across our region to support delivery of COVID Oximetry @home. We are aware that a lot of excellent work in this area is already underway and there are a number of ways we can work collaboratively with you to support implementation: 

  • Facilitate discussions at regional and system level to support pathway mapping and co-ordinate regional delivery plans 
  • Connect with other key stakeholders, including linking with the NHSx digital workstreams around remote monitoring  
  • Deliver webinars to onboard local systems with the programme 
  • Provide bespoke Quality Improvement coaching
  • Signpost teams to relevant resources and support local adaptation (e.g. SOPs, safety netting, training materials) 
  • Provide guidance on acquiring pulse oximeters and managing logistics
  • Capture insights and link with the National COVID Oximetry @home Network to enable rapid learning and sharing of best practice and guidance

COVID virtual wards

The below webinar, held on 13 January 2021, gives an overview of COVID virtual wards and the new programme. It includes learning so far from virtual wards already in practice, the support that Patient Safety Collaboratives and AHSNs are offering to support implementation, and the support offer from NHSX for a digitally enabled service.

The slides for this webinar are available here .

Further resources

FutureNHS National Deterioration Forum

To support teams in sharing and using learning from COVID Oximetry @home implementation, a national learning system is operating via the FutureNHS National Deterioration Forum where additional resources are shared and questions raised via a discussion forum. Sign up here.

COVID Oximetry @home toolkit

This toolkit is an evolving set of resources available through FutureNHS. The toolkit was initially created by the pilot sites and early adopters, to share learning and support others wanting to implement COVID Oximetry @home.

New resources will be added as they are developed/shared, including national guidance, so please keeping checking back in. 

Key journal articles/research to support COVID Oximetry @home

BMJ Validation of home oxygen saturations as a marker of clinical deterioration in patients with suspected COVID-19 

RCGP paper: Virtual Wards, Silent Hypoxia and improving COVID outcomes

Rapid evaluation of remote home monitoring models during COVID-19 pandemic in England (12 October 2020)


London Respiratory Network’s remote monitoring webinar – 21 October 2020

  • Recording available here.
  • Slides available here.

Royal College of General Practitioners led COVID Oximetry @home webinar: an overview for primary care, 12 January 2021

Recording available here.

Slides available here.