June 5, 2024

What Challenges Do Virtual Wards Face?

Understand the challenges in virtual wards

Table of contents

Identifying the issues in virtual wards

Addressing the Challenges Faced by Virtual Wards: Doccla’s Approach

Virtual wards have emerged as a transformative solution in modern healthcare, allowing patients to receive hospital-level care in their homes. While the benefits are substantial, implementing and operating virtual wards also comes with its own set of challenges. In this blog post, we will explore the primary obstacles faced by virtual wards and how Doccla, a leader in this field, exemplifies ways to overcome such challenges to deliver high-quality patient care to all its users.

Challenge 1: Technology Adoption and Digital Literacy

Obstacle: One of the major challenges of virtual wards is ensuring that both patients and healthcare providers are comfortable with and proficient in using the necessary technology. Digital literacy varies widely among patients, particularly among older adults who are more likely to require chronic care management.

Doccla’s Approach: 

Doccla addresses this challenge by providing comprehensive support and training for both patients and healthcare providers. Upon enrolment, patients receive step-by-step guidance on using remote monitoring devices and the patient app. Doccla’s team offers one-on-one training sessions, detailed user manuals, and instructional videos to ensure patients are confident in using the technology.

For healthcare providers, Doccla provides extensive training on the clinical dashboard and telemedicine platform, ensuring seamless integration into existing workflows. The platform is designed to be intuitive and user-friendly, minimising the learning curve and encouraging widespread adoption.

Challenge 2: Data Security and Privacy

Obstacle: Protecting patient data is paramount in any healthcare setting, and the remote nature of virtual wards introduces additional complexities. Ensuring compliance with data protection regulations such as GDPR and maintaining robust cybersecurity measures are critical challenges.

Doccla’s Approach:

Doccla takes data security and privacy seriously, implementing stringent measures to protect patient information. The platform is ISO 27001 certified, ensuring compliance with international standards for information security management. All patient data is encrypted both in transit and at rest, and the system employs multi-factor authentication to prevent unauthorized access.

Regular security assessments and penetration testing are conducted by the Doccla IT team to identify and address vulnerabilities. Additionally, Doccla complies with NHS Digital’s standards, providing clients with confidence that their data is handled with the highest level of security and regulatory compliance.

Challenge 3: Integration with Existing Healthcare Systems

Obstacle: For virtual wards to function effectively, they must integrate seamlessly with existing electronic health records (EHR) and other healthcare systems. Ensuring interoperability and smooth data exchange is essential but can be technically challenging.

Doccla’s Approach:

Doccla’s platform is designed with interoperability in mind to mitigate any administrative complication for patients administered to the virtual ward. It supports integration with major EHR systems such as SystmOne, Cerner, and EMIS, allowing for two-way communication and comprehensive data exchange. The platform uses a robust middleware layer and comprehensive REST APIs to facilitate integration, ensuring that health data from remote monitoring devices is accurately recorded and easily accessible to healthcare professionals. This seamless integration ensures that healthcare providers have direct access and a complete view of the patient’s health metrics, enabling timely and informed decision-making.

Challenge 4: Patient Engagement and Compliance

Obstacle: Ensuring that patients remain engaged with their care plans and consistently adhere to monitoring schedules is a significant challenge in virtual care. Non-compliance can lead to gaps in care and potentially adverse health outcomes.

Doccla’s Approach:

Doccla enhances patient engagement and compliance through several strategies. The platform provides educational resources and self-management tools, empowering patients to take an active role in their health. The patient app includes reminders for medication and monitoring schedules, helping patients stay on track with their care plans.

A unique feature of Doccla’s service is its compliance monitoring. If a patient misses a scheduled reading or fails to input data, the system flags this, prompting a member of Doccla’s team to contact the patient and ensure compliance. This proactive approach maintains high levels of patient engagement and data accuracy, contributing to better health outcomes.

Challenge 5: Clinical Workflow Adaptation

Obstacle: Integrating virtual ward services into existing clinical workflows can be challenging. Healthcare providers may need to adjust their routines and processes to accommodate remote monitoring and telemedicine consultations.

Doccla’s Approach:

Doccla works closely with healthcare providers to ensure smooth integration into clinical workflows. The platform’s design prioritises ease of use and aligns with existing healthcare processes. Training sessions for clinical staff cover best practices for incorporating virtual ward services into daily routines, ensuring minimal disruption and maximal efficiency.

Doccla also provides dedicated support to help healthcare teams navigate any challenges that arise during the implementation phase. By offering ongoing technical and clinical support, Doccla ensures that healthcare providers can adapt to and fully leverage the benefits of virtual ward services.

Challenge 6: Financial and Reimbursement Models

Obstacle: Developing appropriate reimbursement models for virtual ward services can be complex. Ensuring that these services are financially sustainable and attractive to healthcare providers and insurers is crucial.

Doccla’s Approach:

Doccla demonstrates the financial viability of virtual wards through validated cost-saving data. Independent studies have shown that every £1 invested in Doccla’s virtual ward services yields a return of £3.10 . This significant return on investment highlights the cost-effectiveness of adopting virtual care models.

Additionally, Doccla works with healthcare providers and insurers to develop appropriate reimbursement models that reflect the value and savings generated by virtual ward services. By showcasing the financial benefits and ensuring sustainable funding, Doccla helps pave the way for broader adoption of virtual care.

Challenge 7: Ensuring High-Quality Patient Care

Obstacle: Maintaining the quality of care in a remote setting is a critical challenge. Virtual wards must ensure that patients receive the same level of attention and clinical oversight as they would in a traditional hospital ward.

Doccla’s Approach:

Doccla ensures high-quality patient care through continuous monitoring and robust clinical support. The platform’s real-time data monitoring allows for early detection of potential health issues, enabling timely interventions. Doccla’s in-house clinical team provides continuous support, including regular health checks, emergency response, and health coaching. By maintaining a high level of clinical oversight and leveraging advanced technology, Doccla ensures that patients receive comprehensive, personalised care in a remote setting.

Doccla’s approach to overcoming these challenges has resulted in high levels of satisfaction among both patients and healthcare providers. Here are a few testimonials:

Patient Testimonial:

“I was initially apprehensive about using technology for my health, but Doccla’s team made the transition seamless. The training and support I received were excellent, and I feel more in control of my health than ever before.” – Mary L., Patient

Healthcare Provider Testimonial:

“Doccla’s virtual ward has been a game-changer for our practice. The integration with our EHR system was smooth, and the real-time data monitoring has allowed us to provide better, more proactive care to our patients.” – Dr. James H., General Practitioner

Health System Testimonial:

“The cost savings and operational efficiencies we’ve gained from implementing Doccla’s virtual ward are remarkable. It has significantly reduced our hospital admissions and improved patient outcomes.” – Sarah T., NHS Trust Manager

While the implementation of virtual wards presents several challenges, Doccla’s comprehensive and thoughtful approach effectively addresses these obstacles. By prioritizing technology adoption, data security, system integration, patient engagement, and financial sustainability, Doccla ensures that its virtual ward services deliver high-quality, efficient, and cost-effective care. The positive feedback from patients and healthcare providers underscores the success of Doccla’s strategies and highlights the transformative potential of virtual wards in modern healthcare. As virtual wards continue to evolve, Doccla remains at the forefront, pioneering solutions that enhance patient care and optimize healthcare resources.


Simao Saco

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