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Pilot study for ‘remote eating disorder and weight monitoring service’ in Welsh schools

SINCE the Covid pandemic, NHS Wales eating disorder and weight management services have said they reported a significant rise in clinical needs, resources, referrals and waiting lists.  

Funding for a project was awarded by the Health Foundation Q-Lab to scope out the potential for Technology Enabled Remote Monitoring in Schools.

The project is investigating how a timely, efficient, and pupil-centred remote monitoring service in secondary schools to help support and manage disordered eating could be implemented in Wales.

TERMS (Technology Enabled Remote Monitoring in Schools) is an exciting and innovative all-Wales pilot study being conducted by a team in TEC Cymru, hosted by Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB).

The Principal Investigator, Alka Ahuja MBE has said: “We are delighted to receive the funding from the Q lab (Health Foundation) for TERMS (Technology enabled remote monitoring in schools). The introduction of remote monitoring for young people in schools has the potential to provide an efficient service that saves time, reduces cost and reduces stress for young people, families and clinicians while improving communication between health and education.”

Alka Ahuja is a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist and is the National Clinical Lead for the Technology Enabled Care Programme. She was awarded an MBE in 2021 due to her work done on video consulting during the pandemic.

TERMS is a project which is piloting the use of remote monitoring, with a vision to bring health and social care into schools to improve access to healthcare services. Remote monitoring is the ability to monitor and manage aspects of patient health from a distance, through the use of technology. The technology can collect information on measures such as blood pressure, heart rate, and weight.

We have recently secured the remote monitoring technology to undergo our pilot testing for this project. We are now ready to begin testing user experience of the technology within schools and clinical teams. This is a very exciting opportunity for schools to become involved in a pioneering project taking place within Wales, to develop and improve NHS services.

This project is also being supported by the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP) Wales. Ollie John, Manager of the RCP, said “We’ve been delighted to support the work of TEC Cymru into remote monitoring. Importantly the work has been co-designed with young people, and it has the potential to deliver a timely, efficient intervention.”

Our Research Assistant, Vicky Daniels has said “this is such an exciting project to be involved in, it is going to be ground breaking for many different services in Wales in supporting young people with their physical and mental health.”

“The project is being fully evaluated, through adopting a phased, embedded approach to understand the full impact that TERMS could have across Wales.” Said Gemma Johns, the Head of Research at TEC Cymru.