This pilot has now closed but you may find the below resources useful. Please note the information on this webpage was correct at the time of publication.
Cases of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) are rising throughout BNSSG (Bristol, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire), as they are throughout England. With lung disease in the UK costing a staggering £11 billion a year, Public Health England data shows that within BNSSG, emergency COPD admissions are within the highest 5% in the UK. To improve patient safety and reduce emergency admissions this project aimed to rapidly adopt and use digital remote monitoring technology to support the growing challenges and costs associated with COPD.
With the help of NHSX funding, the COPD Digital CHAMP (Coaching Health App Implementation Partnership) project aimed to improve the lives of patients living with COPD within BNSSG by guiding them to self-manage their condition through the roll-out of the myCOPD app. The app helps people with COPD to manage their condition effectively at home, and thereby reduce the number of emergency healthcare visits they may need. The app has been widely deployed across the NHS.
Watch our short explainer video featuring Dr James Dodd, Consultant Respiratory Physician, Southmead Hospital and Clinical Lead for the COPD Digital CHAMP project:
A mixed-methods approach was taken to understand the impact of Digital Health Champions (DHC) on the uptake and ongoing use of myCOPD app.
The quantitative evaluation, completed by Unity Insights, sought to understand the engagement levels of the DHC-enabled myCOPD users and the characteristics and demographics of patients who accepted enrolment on to the app. The evaluation did not focus on the impact of the app itself, only the additional benefit of using DHCs to support rollout.
A second evaluation, completed by the University of Bath, reviewed findings through a two-phase qualitative approach. Phase 1 aimed to explore the barriers and facilitators of patient and clinical engagement with the myCOPD app, to inform ongoing implementation of the COPD Digital Champion Service and provide recommendations to ensure the service was as effective as possible during the second phase of the pilot. Phase 2 aimed to explore the stakeholder experience of the Digital Champion Service and its implementation.
“I can honestly say, without fear of contradiction, I wouldn’t be here today if I hadn’t been on that app…I do manage myself better and I’m more aware, the key for me is the knowledge. That I’ve got it and I can regain that power.” – my mHealth website.
With the help of Digital Health Champions and Clinical Champions, we rolled out the use of myCOPD across BNSSG. Implementation was initially focussed on North Bristol Trust, Sirona Care and Health and two GP practices. It then spread to University Hospitals Bristol and Weston (UHBW) and all interested GP practices within BNSSG. By the end of September 2022, 525 patients were using the app, far exceeding our target of 250.
Findings from previous attempts to deploy myCOPD into local systems, which highlighted that administrative support is key to successful execution and embedding of the app, had been considered in this roll out.
The COPD Digital Champion Service and the role of Digital Health Champions
The Digital Health Champions were new roles piloted in the COPD Digital CHAMP project to help spread the uptake of the app. They are responsible for recruiting patients onto the app following referral from acute, primary, secondary and community care colleagues. After they have enrolled eligible patients, they provide coaching on how to use myCOPD, working with patients to understand and overcome individual limitations and difficulties in using the app.
Read our case study
“Improving my confidence and giving me the belief that I could do it is the main thing that I’m grateful for. I don’t think I would have used the app if I had not had the coaching from the Digital Health Champion because of my fear of technology.” – Sue, COPD Champion Service patient.
Who we worked with
We worked collaboratively with Healthier Together, North Bristol NHS Trust, Sirona care and health, University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust and One Care to deliver this project. The myCOPD app has been developed by my mHealth and we worked alongside their team to ensure the app was working effectively for users.
We recruited Digital Health Champions and clinical champions from Sirona care and health, North Bristol Trust and University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust and together the Digital Health Champions formed the cross-organisational COPD Digital Champion Team.
“On average, patients receive 15 minutes with their clinical team per year to help manage their long-term condition. Our digital therapeutics provide round the clock access to proven medical interventions that reduces impact on healthcare services and improves patients’ symptoms and outcomes.” – my mhealth website.
Find out more
To find out more about implementation in primary care, visit TeamNet.
To find out more, please email email@example.com.
Supporting research into digitally enhanced respiratory care pathways
With up to half of all hospital beds being occupied by patients with respiratory illnesses, supporting discharges, preventing disease exacerbations and readmissions is key to ensuring the NHS can manage the growing number of patients needing help. To support improved understanding of how digitally enhanced care pathways can support improved patient outcomes, we are working with my mhealth to support a research study focused on use of the myCOPD app. The study, to assess impact on readmission rates, will be held in the two acute Trusts in Bristol where the COPD Digital CHAMP project has been established. A second element of research relates to use of the app during pulmonary rehabilitation in Cornwall.
My mhealth, which received our support with bid writing to secure funding for the research studies, was one of six successful awardees in the 2022/23 SBRI respiratory competition announced in January 2023. Read more about this work.