Medway NHS Foundation Trust Case Study

Case Study

Meeting the demand for virtual ward services

How remote monitoring helped Medway to maximize virtual ward capacity and minimize hospital readmissions.


Key Results

26 %
Reduction in hospital readmissions
37 %
Reduction in in-person home visits
85 %
Patients extremely likely to recommend

Medway NHS Foundation Trust’s SMART Service

Medway’s Surgical Medical Acute Response Team (SMART) are a dedicated team of nurses, consultants and therapists who lead the trust’s virtual ward program.

This program allows acute patients normally hospitalized to be discharged and receive care within their own home as a continuation of the hospital’s acute admission pathway.

The multidisciplinary team’s goals are to increase flow and efficiency of discharge across multiple clinical departments including pre- and postoperative, frailty, cardiovascular and respiratory.


In early 2021, escalating hospitalizations brought an increased need for Medway’s virtual ward service. Delivering more in-home care while minimizing the risk of COVID-19 transmission was also a key challenge.


Heightened demand for virtual ward services

A surge in hospitalizations due to COVID-19 and winter-related conditions presented an increased need for home-based care to help reduce pressure on hospital resources.


Added pressure on resource due to avoidable readmissions

Detection of health deterioration within patients suffering from chronic conditions can occur too late leading to rehospilization1 placing further pressure on resources.


Increased risk of virus transmission

Medway needed to minimize in-person visits to reduce risk of COVID-19 exposure and transmission while still delivering high quality and effective care to patients within their home.


Medway’s SMART service used Current Health’s platform to increase virtual ward capacity, reduce hospital readmissions and minimize potential virus exposure.

The technology was integrated to create a virtual care pathway to support patients suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD) or asthma.


Continuous vital sign monitoring at home

Following treatment for an acute exacerbation of COPD or asthma, patients were discharged home with Current Health’s monitoring kit.


Clinical dashboard for remote analysis

SMART visualized both real-time and trend health data for their patients on a single centralized dashboard. Disease-specific alarms alerted the team to the early signs of health deterioration.


Further assessment of health via video call

To understand symptoms and determine the reasons for health deterioration, the team engaged with their patients using built-in video calling.

Full Results


Reduction in hospital readmissions*

Automatic detection of health deterioration, permitted earlier intervention to be delivered in patients’ homes, preventing unnecessary readmissions.


Reduction in in-person home visits

Due to automated vitals capture and video calling, home visits could be minimized, reducing risk of virus exposure and transmission. Time savings also allowed the team to increase virtual ward capacity using the same clinical resource.


Patients extremely likely to recommend

Patients reported how reassured and comforted they felt by continuous monitoring and enjoyed the convenience of video calls with their care team.

“Automated and continuous vital sign capture and video calling has helped us to reduce the number and frequency of home visits without compromising the quality of care we provide. As we refine and grow this technology enabled program, we aim to replace 50% of in-person interactions with virtual visits. This will enable us to extend our service to other clinical areas and manage more patients safely at home.”

Jackie Hammond Medway’s SMART Service Manager


Looking Forward

Continuous, clinical grade monitoring tools have proven to enhance virtual ward services by providing a data rich insight into patient health at home. With this, teams can identify deterioration sooner, allowing for the delivery of proactive care which can help reduce readmission rates.

Video calling has also afforded greater service efficiency. This has enabled cohort size to be increased without reducing the high standard of care delivered which is reflected by exceptional patient satisfaction scores.

Based on this success, Medway’s SMART service has started to integrate remote monitoring into preoperative, postoperative, and frailty care pathways.


1. Friebel R, Hauck K, Aylin P, et al. National trends in emergency readmission rates: a longitudinal analysis of administrative data for England between 2006 and 2016 BMJ Open 2018;8:e020325. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-020325

* Compared with a UK 90-day COPD readmission rate of 31%. Source: Harries, T.H., Thornton, H., Crichton, S. et al. Hospital readmissions for COPD: a retrospective longitudinal study. npj Prim Care Resp Med 27, 31 (2017)