Lynne Bax and Will Sullivan in partnership with Lancashire Care Foundation Trust have developed a successful paper system to enable patients to track their symptoms of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and activate their plan if symptoms worsen. They wanted to make use of mobile technology to provide this system on an app and enable the clinical team to view the daily reports.
According to the NHS Choices website it is thought there are more than 3 million people living with COPD in the UK, of which only about 900,000 have been diagnosed.
We have taken the principle functions of the paper system and ensured these remain as easy to use as possible within an online app format. We have added in the Intelesant principle functions of enabling patients to invite others to share their plan, and to securely connect messaging between the patient, their connected people, and the clinical team. The app enables quick and easy checks whilst incorporating the individual’s action plan in response to changes in symptoms. The app will be accessed after introduction from the respiratory team. One of our service users at a recent development workshop said “this is much easier than paper!”
The CCGs of NHS Chorley and South Ribble and Greater Preston commissioned Intelesant to develop the app in collaboration with Lancashire Care Foundation Trust. Lynne Bax is the programme lead and she said”We originally had the funding agreed for our innovation towards the middle of last year and over the following months held meetings with several IT companies, finally we were introduced to Intelesant. We realised immediately that these were the people that we wanted to work with. This has truly been partnership working and I have to say that they were worth the wait being the last company that we were introduced to. The App development has since progressed at a pace and we have been supported, not only by the talented designers but also clinically by Louise Rogerson. This has been a really important factor for us. The team have supported us, not only in bringing our ideas to life, but also in showing us what else is possible.”
How we did it
We initially broke down the fundamental steps within “how are you today?” and ensured they were accurately represented within our development plan. We have worked closely with the clinicians who developed this ground-breaking programme to ensure fidelity of the instructions. We have then enabled these new functions within our existing Howz app platform using strong User Interface design knowledge alongside clinical interpretation and data management. A co-production approach has enabled us to engage with service users at an early opportunity to establish the best methods for capturing the information and accessing the plan.
The app has now been launched and is in use with patients from NHS Chorley and South Ribble CCG, NHS Greater Preston CCG, and SEQOL – a community provider in Swindon. The feedback from patients and connected carers has been excellent, and our added telephone support for registration and initial use has been welcomed by this client group.
One of our users has been using the app most days to record how he is feeling, it has enabled him to spot when an exacerbation is starting and get treatment quickly. Although he says he was managing pretty well before, the app has helped him to be more consistent with his inhalers, and enabling his daughter to see how he is has reduced a lot of worry.