App cuts Covid risk from elective ops

Digital health app LifeBox has steered private hospitals through the choppy waters of Covid-19 and is now being used to ensure patients are ‘surgery-ready’ for when elective cases pick up. Leslie Berry finds out more.

The Covid crisis has forced medical practitioners to embrace digital health technology like never before. Resistance to change was dispelled as teams quickly adapted so they could keep patients safe. 

For the consultants and technical specialists behind the LifeBox software, they witnessed the adoption of their innovative app move forward by two years within a matter of weeks.  

As the first interactive digital patient pre-operative assessment tool, it enables patients to complete their assessment questionnaire from the comfort and safety of their home. It supports the medical teams in deciding whether the patient needs to come back into hospital prior to surgery for further assessment and tests. 

Up until lockdown, the app was already embedded in six private and two NHS hospitals, and 35,000 patients already benefitted from its remote management of their pre-surgical care. 

It had also been selected as one of just 11 small to medium-sized enterprises for the DigitalHealth. London’s ‘accelerator’ programme which supports companies and hospitals to speed up the adoption of technology in London’s NHS. 

Complete journey

On the eve of the Covid crisis, Secure Virtual Consultation software (SVC) was added to the LifeBox family. This is more than just video consultation, as it replicates a face-to-face consultation. 

Medical files, scans, patient photos and videos can be uploaded and exchanged between patient and hospital staff for consultations and the entire pre- and  post-op care – and the makers say it is completely secure, providing a complete end-to-end journey for the patient. 

But then, in March, elective surgeries stopped overnight as private hospitals became emergency ‘Covid hubs’ for the NHS.