Rachel Gemine, Ian Bond, Phil Groom, David Taylor and Keir Lewis
Hywel Dda University Health Board and industry partner, Bond Digital Health
This Bevan Exemplar project aims to improve patient self-management and understanding of COPD using a mobile application.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) affects over 1 million people in the UK and costs the NHS over £1.8 billion per year. Improving patient self-management and understanding of their own condition will enable a reduction in GP contact and hospitalisation.
‘My COPD Nurse’ is a healthcare app that allows patients to track and manage their COPD and alerts them to health changes. Improved self-management in the long term will lead to reduced GP contact, reduced hospital visits and an overall cost saving to the NHS.
Use of the app should also improve quality of life and reduce anxiety and depression by increasing the sense of control. In addition, it will provide health and care professionals with greater and more tailored knowledge when treating patients.
This project brought together Bond Digital Health and Hywel Dda University Health Board to develop and evaluate a COPD self-management app. The aim was to develop the app to produce a working prototype and to assess the feasibility of introducing this app to COPD patients, alongside ensuring they were comfortable with the idea of self-management.
Following initial exploratory work, changes were made to the app, which included changes to the technology and app development, along with rebranding. This led to delays, however new staff appointments within Bond Digital Health helped to resolve these. The project was supported by the Health Board’s University Partnership Board who have encouraged further development and progression. Despite delays, the changes have meant that the resulting app is more user-friendly and clinically relevant.
The prototype app has been developed and it is hoped a larger trial will commence soon, and funding applications have been submitted.
Use of the app will ultimately lead to improved understanding by a patient of their condition, improved compliance with medication and improved health outcomes. It will also lead to improved clinical care, reduced negative interventions and hospital visits – ultimately leading to a cost saving for the NHS.
Following development and clinical input, the team has submitted funding applications to undertake a larger trial. The ethics application is developed and submission is underway. The team proposes to evaluate the app in terms of:
- Usability – ease of introduction and use of the functionality.
- Acceptance – continual positive use by COPD patients.
- Compliance and engagement – do patients use the app daily and consistently?
- Clinical Impact – how does use of the app affect health outcomes?