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Hospital Virtual Ward team shortlisted for HSJ Digital Award

A pioneering programme providing acute hospital-level care for patients in their own homes has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award.

The Acute Virtual Ward programme at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust (MTW) has been shortlisted for the ‘Improving out of hospital care through digital’ award, which recognises the successful development and implementation of digital projects, products or services that are improving access, independence and choice for patients, and enabling staff to optimise capacity and quality of care.

Since November 2022 the Virtual Ward has been delivering acute hospital-level care directly to patients in their homes by a team of specialist nurses and doctors. Wearable technology allows teams to continually monitor patients remotely and issues an alert if their condition changes. Patients also receive a daily video call to check on progress and discuss their recovery.

The introduction of the programme has enabled MTW to increase its capacity for treating patients requiring acute-level care. So far, the Acute Virtual Ward team has cared for nearly 400 patients and saved over 3,000 physical bed days, making sure these beds are available for patients who need to remain in hospital. Patient feedback survey reveals a 95% satisfaction rate, reflecting the positive experiences that Virtual Ward patients are having.

Acute Virtual Ward Matron, Fay Johnstone said: “We’re delighted to have been shortlisted for this year’s HSJ Digital Awards, and our thanks must go to all of the incredible teams involved in setting the service up. The success of the Virtual Ward is down to their hard work and vision, and means that many of our patients are now able to recover in the comfort of their own homes, with the reassurance of remote monitoring and 24/7 nursing support.”

The Health Service Journal (HSJ) Digital Awards celebrate excellence in digitising, connecting, and transforming health and care, and includes categories such as ‘Connecting health and social care through digital’, ‘Empowering patients through digital’ and ‘Digital Clinical Safety Award.

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in Manchester on Thursday 6 June.