District receives funding to expand digital support for respiratory patients

FOLLOWING a successful trial during COVID-19, thousands of people with long-term respiratory conditions across Bradford District and Craven are set to receive support through a dedicated remote monitoring app – with more than £400,000 being invested by NHS England.

Over the next two years around 6,000 people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) will get help to manage their condition through the specially designed app.

This follows a successful trial involving 50 people recovering from COVID-19 who have been using an app called Luscii as part of the district’s Act as One Respiratory Programme. During the trial people were given round-the-clock access to the MyCare24 clinical team, and used the remote monitoring app to recognise when their oxygen levels began to deteriorate.

The funding will now mean people with moderate-to-severe respiratory conditions will be given access to the app or a paper-based version for those unable to use smartphones.

App users will be supported by the MyCare24 remote monitoring service, which is available 24 hours a day and staffed by clinicians. It will be led by the Digital Care Hub at Airedale Hospital and is expected to be the largest service of its kind across England.

Self-management

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the name for a group of lung conditions that cause breathing difficulties and tend to get worse over time limiting every-day activities, although treatment and self-management can help keep the condition under control.

Dr Katherine Hickman, GP and Respiratory Lead for NHS Bradford District and Craven Clinical Commissioning Group, 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 Luscii App offers self-care materials and videos as well as ‘Know Your Normal’, a simple tool which will help people recognise the early signs of an exacerbation and provide guidance on what to do.

“Patients not using the Luscii App will receive an information pack 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 NHS Foundation Trust, said: “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 and will ensure we listen to the feedback we get from people using Luscii as well as their families.”

Karen Dawber, Senior Responsible Owner for the Act as One Respiratory Programme and Chief Nurse at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, added: “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.

Person-centred solution

“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.”

People will receive an introductory call to set up the Luscii app on a smart device, enabling them to enter their oxygen saturations and heart rate from the pulse oximeter readings – this will help them use the ‘Know Your Normal’ tool and identify when they may need additional support. App users will also benefit from a range of in-app resources including an early messaging service providing early warnings of changes in weather that can affect people with COPD.

Those opting for paper monitoring will be provided with a pulse oximeter (if they do not already have one) and an information pack which will include a diary for capturing their oxygen saturation levels and heart rate. The referrer will agree with the patient the frequency at which readings need to be taken and safe parameters. Should a reading be outside of those set for the individual patient, they will be advised to contact the MyCare24 team for an assessment.

NHSX funding for the project is just over £400,000, and is part of a wider package of regional support totalling £3 million to expand digital solutions across Yorkshire and the Humber.

ENDS