Home » Digital Health » Remote testing could help us stay healthier for longer

Jack Tabner

Head of Strategic Partnerships, Thriva

COVID-19 has proven the need for remote testing, now we must secure the benefits. 

Throughout the pandemic, necessity has accelerated a shift towards remote models of care, offering us a vision of how healthcare is delivered in the future. 

Behaviourally, the change has been dramatic. COVID-19 has led many, across generations, to use technology in new ways, from video calls with elderly relatives, the resurgence of the QR code to the NHS Test & Trace app. Testing at home became less science-fiction than banal routine – regularly sticking a swab up our nose, taking a finger prick blood test, and logging and interpreting results. 

Rise in remote management  

Across healthcare, the need to protect healthcare providers and at-risk patients saw a dramatic rise in the use of remote care management and remote patient monitoring with virtual wards, hospitals at home and telemedicine. Data from the Royal College of General Practitioners shows that 71% of routine consultations were remote in the four weeks leading up to April 12th 2020, compared to 25% in the same period last year.  

Thriva has already played a key role as a partner for the Government’s at-home testing programme which has seen us deliver over 750,000 tests to power key research projects on COVID antibodies

Diagnostics play an important role in triaging those who need care most urgently.

 Beyond COVID  

COVID has proven the case and forced the expansion of these services, but we now need to take up the opportunity and reap the benefits as a society – from diagnostics, to monitoring and research.  

Diagnostics play an important role in triaging those who need care most urgently, reducing the care backlog and preserving NHS capacity for those who truly need it. 

Similarly, at-home testing and preventative lifestyle focused care provides a vital solution for managing long-term conditions, freeing up capacity in General Practice and hospital outpatient departments. Conditions like hypertension, hypothyroidism, diabetes and cardiovascular disease can all be managed through regular remote monitoring, empowering patients and reducing pressure on services.  

Thriva’s work with the Royal Brompton Hospital’s Cystic Fibrosis patients allows them to own the management of their condition, reducing the need for avoidable trips to hospitals and time off work

Beyond patient care, remote testing offers the chance for us to reduce costs and increase the quality of clinical trials and research, reducing the need for patients to come into hospital for blood tests. Similarly, it can improve mass patient screening programmes, for which it is hard to drive high levels of uptake. 

This evolution towards remote testing, through services and technology which are informative, convenient and person centric could underpin an effective, successful and proactive healthcare system of the future.  

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