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District receives funding to expand digital support for respiratory patients


29 Jun 2021

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 over £400,000 being invested by NHS England.

Thanks to the cash boost over the next two years a total of around 6,000 people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) will get help to manage their condition through a specially designed app. This follows a successful trial involving 50 people recovering from COVID who have been using an app called Luscii as part of the district’s Act as One Respiratory Programme. During the trial people had round-the-clock access to the MyCare24 clinical team, using the remote monitoring app to recognise when oxygen levels begin to deteriorate.

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

People will be supported by the MyCare24 remote monitoring service available 24 hours a day, staffed by clinicians. The MyCare24 service, led by the Digital Care Hub at Airedale Hospital and covering people from across Bradford District and Craven, is expected to be the largest of its kind across England.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the name for a group of lung conditions that cause breathing difficulties. The breathing problems tend to get gradually worse over time limiting normal 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 helping people recognise the early signs of an exacerbation and guidance on what to do.  For patients not using the Luscii 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 NHS Foundation Trust, 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 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, 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 health care 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. People using the app 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 a hardcopy 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 to take readings and the 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.

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

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