User experiences of a remote monitoring program during COVID-19

Andrea Torres Robles, Karen Allison, Simon Poon, Miranda Shaw, Owen Hutchings, Warwick Britton, Andrew Wilson, Melissa Baysari

Background: Virtual care has gained traction during COVID-19 as it allows patients to be remotely monitored while reducing the risk of infection for patients and healthcare professionals. RPA Virtual Hospital (rpavirtual), launched in February 2020, was the first service in NSW to introduce remote monitoring and follow-up for stable COVID-19 patients in quarantine or isolating at home. Patients received a pulse oximeter (PO) to monitor their oxygen saturation levels, critical to identifying signs of health deterioration. Although preliminary patient experience data have been collected, user perceptions of the intervention have not been fully explored.

Aims: Explore the utilisation, performance and acceptability of the PO by patients and clinicians in COVID-19 remote monitoring.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with patients ≥18, monitored by rpavirtual with PO, and rpavirtual clinicians who monitored those patients. Interviews were coded using the Theoretical Framework of Acceptability.

Results: Twenty-one patients and 15 clinicians completed the interview. All participants described the key benefits of the PO as allowing patients to be monitored at home and detection of early deterioration. All participants had a good understanding of the device’s purpose and knowledge about its use and the device was found to be easy to use. However, users also identified factors negatively impacting the accurate use of the PO (e.g. patient age).

Conclusions: The use of the PO for COVID-19 remote monitoring was described as easy and highly acceptable to patients and clinicians. Additional education may be necessary for some patient cohorts.