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Using virtual wards and long-term conditions management network to improve practice and performance
  1. Ezra Kanyimo
  1. NHS England, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Mr Ezra Kanyimo; ekanyimo{at}


England has more than 15 million people and counting with long-term conditions who have the greatest healthcare needs of the population accounting for 50% of all General Practitioner (GP) appointments and 70% of all bed days. Digital technology has the potential to transform care through empowering patients, establishing more robust therapeutic relationships as well as supporting stronger teamworking across boundaries and enabling creation of communities and networks to support patients.

There is some hesitancy in National Health Service to adopt digital innovation, but the pandemic has transformed use of remote monitoring in a matter of weeks. The pandemic has highlighted how collaboration and digital technology innovation can radically transform health and care services at pace when people are provided with the space and support to be innovative. Nurse and clinical leaders with digital knowledge are key in engaging nurses who need to be at the heart of technological developments and implementation to make sure changes facilitate, enhance patient care and improve clinical practice. This project aimed to create a forum that offered time, space and opportunities to innovate; share learning; and develop cross boundary relationships for project teams implementing technology-enabled remote monitoring or virtual ward solutions.

Florence Nightingale Foundation scholar and NHSX Digital Health team ran the forum using community of practice principles. Qualitative data were used to measure any potential value created. Forum members reported increase in their personal knowledge as they managed to learn from others. An online platform created as an extension to the forum enabled members to continue networking and access resources. The forum provided space for relationships to get stronger. This enabled innovation that changed practice and performance around increased uptake of tech-enabled remote monitoring solutions by patients as well as indirect health outcomes. Further work is required to collate quantitative data to confirm these claims from the forum members.

  • Collaborative, breakthrough groups
  • Information technology
  • Leadership
  • Long-Term Care
  • Nurses

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Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.

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  • Contributors The author would like to acknowledge the NHSX Digital Health team who helped to shape and support the running of the network forum as well as set up and maintanace of the online collaborative site; NHS England colleagues for their guidance throughout the project, with special mention to; Jane Clegg- London Regional Chief Nurse, Briony Sloper- Deputy Programme Director: Health and Care in the Community Cell– London Region; Anne-Marie Hellier- Deputy Director, Provider Development (Clinical and Patient Benefits); Sarah Ford- Programmes Manager, Digital Health team; and Bried O'Brien- Deputy Director Digital Health team, who mentored the author. Lastly the project could not have been completed without the participation and support from the members within the project teams from NHSX Regional scaling programme. The author accepts full responsibility for the work and/or the conduct of the study, had access to the data, and controlled the decision to publish.

  • Funding Florence Nightingale Foundation Leadership scholarship Registered in England and Wales with Charity Reg No. 229229

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.