A Southampton-developed healthcare app that helps people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) manage their condition can speed up recovery after hospital admission and reduce flare-ups of symptoms, a newly published study has shown.
COPD is a common respiratory condition and one of the top causes of hospital admissions each year, particularly during winter months. In the UK it accounts for over 140,000 hospital admissions and one million bed days at a major cost to the NHS.
At a time when fewer people are able to access face-to-face consultations with their GPs and elderly patients with conditions such as COPD need are shielding, these are very encouraging findings for the future of digital health services.
In this new study, 41 patients admitted to hospital with severe exacerbations of COPD were allocated into two groups, with one group receiving their regular treatments and the second group of patients set up with access to the MyCOPD app as well as receiving treatment as usual.
MyCOPD gives patients access to a broad range of services wherever they are in the world, without the need to travel to clinics or join waiting lists. These services include receiving education from medical experts, information on how factors such as pollen, pollution and the weather in their area could affect their condition and videos that demonstrate how to use inhalers correctly. Users also complete daily diaries of their symptoms and medication, which allows the app to help them identify when they are deteriorating and provide advice on appropriate courses of action.
The results of this latest trial, published in the journal NPJ Digital Medicine, showed that over the course of three months, the number of further exacerbations within the group using