New research: Over 1,000 bed days saved with virtual ward

Our newly published economic evaluation of a COVID virtual ward in Leicester, Leicestershire, and Rutland

By on June 30, 2022

Our latest research to evaluate the economic impact of a virtual ward has been published on medRxiv, showing significant financial and resource use savings versus a traditional ward.

Working in partnership with Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland ICS, the study explored the use of a virtual ward to manage COVID-19 patients, and the resulting impact on NHS resources.

The study included 310 patients across two key groups; those who had been on oxygen and required weaning off it while within the virtual ward and those who had not required oxygen therapy whilst in hospital.

Key results included 1,103 bed days saved, mean net savings of £1,709 per patient, and net financial savings to the NHS trust of £529,719.

Alongside the paper, our in-house health economist has also assessed the impact on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The virtual ward saved ‘the equivalent of a blue whale’s weight of CO2‘.

The carbon footprint associated with acutely hospitalised patients has been described as the most carbon-intensive of care pathways, contributing 125kg of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent per day1. The intervention reduced the number of bed days by 1103.2, resulting in a gross reduction in 2019 CO2 equivalents of 137.9 metric tonnes. A blue whale weighs 140 tonnes on average.

– Jim Swift, Wee Economissionist at Spirit Health

The study is due to be submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. You can read the full pre-print now.

Reference
1Romanello M. Guest post: Calculating the carbon footprint of the NHS in England. CarbonBrief Clear on Climate. 2021 https://www.carbonbrief.org/guest-post-calculating-the-carbon-footprint-of-the-nhs-in-england/ accessed 27/06/2022

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