Exploring the clinical and health economic impact of the myCOPD app

Theme Respiratory disease

Workstream Exacerbation prediction and aerosol emissions

Status: This project is ongoing

The aim of this project is to explore the health economic benefits of an app used by patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to manage their condition.

COPD is a condition which affects over three million people in the UK. It causes chronic symptoms such as breathlessness and cough. It can limit a patient’s tolerance for exercise and lead to acute exacerbations which often end in hospital admission.

Current treatment for COPD includes inhalers and exercise programmes called pulmonary rehabilitation to improve a patient’s tolerance for exercise and their resilience to acute disease exacerbations. Improving access to these programmes and helping patients manage their condition more effectively are therefore important healthcare goals.

myCOPD is an app designed to help people with COPD manage their condition at home. Patients can, for example, access pulmonary rehabilitation remotely and manage other key aspects of their condition through it. It is an app that has been widely deployed across the NHS and is being used by patients in different areas of the UK.

This study will explore the implementation of myCOPD by NHS respiratory services in two different regions, working with diverse populations. We will assess the value of using myCOPD in the COPD discharge care bundle for patients admitted to hospital because of an acute exacerbation. We will also look at its ability to accelerate recovery and prevent unscheduled care visits and re-admissions.

During our formal assessment of the myCOPD app we will collaborate with data scientists to develop ways of using sustainable, scalable, routinely collected clinical data (from GP records, for example). We will use this as a test case for respiratory conditions and it will form part of a bid for the ‘Great Western’ secure data environment (SDE). SDEs are data storage and access platforms that allow approved users to access and analyse data without the data leaving the environment.

The work we carry out on this project will let us generate vital evidence for myCOPD’s value in the NHS more efficiently. It will also enable us to develop a business case for national adoption and use of the app. We hope this will transform outcomes for people living with COPD, a common and complex condition.