Thousands of patients with long-term respiratory conditions across the Bradford District and Craven area, will benefit from a dedicated remote monitoring app. NHS England are investing over £400,000 in this project, which is part of a wider regional support package of £3m, aimed at expanding digital solutions in Yorkshire and the Humber.
Around 6,000 people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are expected to receive support in managing their condition through the specially designed app over the next two years. This comes after a successful trial during the pandemic, which included 50 people recovering from Covid who used the app as part of the district’s Act as One Respiratory Programme. Those involved in the trial were able to access the MyCare24 clinical team any time through the app, which recognised when oxygen levels were deteriorating.
People with moderate to severe respiratory conditions will now be able to access the app or a paper-based version for those unable to use smartphones. The MyCare24 remote monitoring service will be available 24 hours a day and staffed by clinicians. Airedale NHS FT’s Digital Care Hub will lead the service for people across the Bradford District and Craven area, and it is expected to be the largest of its kind in England.
Dr Katherine Hickman, GP and Respiratory Lead for NHS Bradford District and Craven CCG, said: “This funding announcement is fantastic news as it gives us the opportunity to scale up the use of remote monitoring and supported self-management for people with COPD.
“The app offers self-care materials and videos as well as ‘Know Your Normal’, a simple tool helping people recognise the early signs of an exacerbation and guidance on what to do. For patients not using the app, the information pack will be provided in paper format at the point of referral that will include educational content and signposting to services and helplines.”
Dr Claire Lawless, Consultant in Respiratory Medicine at Airedale FT, added: “Our trial has demonstrated how people with COPD can be successfully supported to manage their condition at home, reducing the need for clinical support and in particular reducing the risk of emergency admission to hospital. To ensure we have a service that works for everyone, we have involved a range of health and care staff, as well as ensuring we listen to the feedback we’ve been getting from people using the app as well as their families.”
The breathing difficulties associated with COPD usually get gradually worse through normal activities. It is thought that through treatment and self-management the condition can be kept under control. When first using the app, people will receive an introductory call, helping them set up the app, where they can enter their oxygen levels and heart rate from the pulse oximeter readings. One of the benefits of the app is the early messaging service which will provide early warnings of weather changes, known to affect people with COPD.
Karen Dawber, Senior Responsible Owner for the Act as One Respiratory Programme, and Chief Nurse at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS FT, commented: “Throughout this pilot we have been able to demonstrate how our health and care partnership for our place – Act as One – allows us to work together to implement effective solutions that improve people’s lives and bring benefits to the wider health and care system.
“Receiving this funding is an acknowledgement of the work we have done to implement a person-centred solution that is delivering healthcare that is co-designed by clinicians, our voluntary sector and patients across Bradford District and Craven.”