How O2 and IOCOM are improving the lives of stroke victims in England
At O2 we are always looking for opportunities to partner with technology-based organisations who can benefit from our expertise in connectivity. Here’s how we have worked with one such company to improve the prospects for stroke victims in the East of England
IOCOM’s mission is to transform the way critical healthcare is delivered by the NHS East of England region. IOCOM is a patented, advanced global communications platform that transforms the way that clinical teams work together. Clinicians and patients can come together no matter where they are and connect instantly and securely.
In September, DigitalHealth.London announced that IOCOM had been accepted as one of their third cohort of digital health companies best-placed to help England’s NHS meet the challenges of an ageing population and scarce resources. It’s one element of Health Secretary’s Matt Hancock plans for the NHS to become the best in the world at using technology in healthcare.
IOCOM’s addresses a specific challenge faced by the NHS East of England region in its provision of stroke treatment and care. Strokes are regarded as medical emergencies, and a stroke patient stands the best possible chance of long term survival if they get to hospital quickly and receive thrombolysis, a treatment to dissolve dangerous clots in blood vessels and improve blood flow, within three hours. With the NHS East of England region serving more than 5.8 million people, and covering an area of 7,500 square miles, this all-important three hour timeframe has often been unattainable.
It isn’t the only challenge the NHS faces regarding strokes. There is a national shortage of specialist stroke consultants, particularly out of hours, meaning that a stroke patient is often rushed into A&E, only to discover that there is no specialist support available. To meet the full need without telemedicine would need 40% more consultants, at an additional cost of £14m each year.
IOCOM’s solution is digital, and connects the patient in hospital with the specialist consultant who is based at home. The consultant is able to see and talk to the patient, and can review the results of CT scans, diagnostic images and other test data before arranging for the thrombolysis to be administered. Better still, the consultant is able to support patients in a number of hospitals simultaneously, day or night.
The first patient to receive the treatment using IOCOM’s telemedicine service in the East of England was Pamela, who suffered a stroke one Sunday afternoon while trying to lift a basket of washing. Pamela received her treatment well within the critical three hour timeframe, was in hospital for just two days, and made a complete recovery. She was very lucky. Typically, one in eight strokes is fatal within just 30 days, and the average hospital stay for a stroke patient is 17 days.
2000 patients treated to date
Since Pamela’s recovery, NHS East of England recently treated its 2,000th patient using IOCOM’s telemedicine solution. With our ageing population, this is the future of the NHS. The service is under ever greater pressure, with additional funding such as the £20 million recently committed by the government only able to maintain current levels of service. But investing in adaptive digital technology including telecare, telemedicine and video enabled services will help achieve efficiencies within the NHS, whilst treating patients more effectively.
So what next for IOCOM? With O2’s experience in mobile connectivity we are working together to relieve further pressures on the NHS. Rather than wait for the patient to be admitted to hospital before being connected to the consultant, perhaps we can connect patient and consultant in the ambulance, the care home or even the patient’s home?
Then there are other critical conditions whose treatment could be improved with IOCOM’s service. We are currently working together to conduct trials with the service in neurology, epilepsy care and long term support of MS patients.
And what about the other great pressure on the NHS, the local GP surgery? O2 recently conducted research The value of 5G for cities and communities illustrating that 5G could free up 1.1 million GP hours by replacing just 5% of GP appointments with tele-health video conferencing and real-time remote health monitoring.
Can O2 and IOCOM help deliver efficiencies in your organisation? We’d love to hear from you. Contact us here.