This month saw the 1000th patient treated by a new digital health service – where people with long-term respiratory conditions across Bradford District and Craven are given proactive support through a dedicated remote monitoring app, transforming their care and reducing their need to access services.
The new service, which was launched in June 2021 with funding from NHSx, is on track to meet its target of monitoring 6000 people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) over the next 2 years. 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.
People are supported by the MyCare24 remote monitoring service available 24 hours a day, staffed by clinicians. Led by the Digital Care Hub at Airedale Hospital and covering people from across Bradford District and Craven, it is the largest of its kind across England.
As part of the service people 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 – to help them use the ‘Know Your Normal’ tool and identify when they may need additional support.
People using the app 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. There is also a paper based option for those who can’t use the app.
The patient story:
70 year old Bryan Bowman from Horton-in-Ribblesdale was a good athlete in his youth but as he got older suddenly began to realise that he couldn’t walk, run or cycle like he used to. The former smoker and quarry worker found that as he reached his 50’s, he couldn’t manage everyday things, was gasping for breath and puffing and panting. He also had a serious accident which means he now uses a three wheeled walker and suffers from spondylitis. He also had a cancer diagnosis in his back and so was forced into retirement because of his health problems.
Bryan was referred to the MyCare24 team and given the App which offers 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.
By using the Luscii app Bryan can self-manage most of his symptoms without needing to contact his GP. The Oximeter helps him control the speed of his walking depending on his readings and he now has an electric scooter and a disability car which has given him his life back.
“The Luscii app is so helpful and easy to use, it brings my attention to my oxygen levels and it shows me where I am in life. I will go anywhere so long as my readings from the Oximeter are good and I feel good in myself. I can get out on my scooter with pride now to the local shops, I can pick up the shopping and do the cooking because I can get round the kitchen. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone – it’s been really reassuring. I couldn’t be without it.”
Karen Dawber, Senior Responsible Officer for the Act as One Respiratory Programme and Chief Nurse at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is a significant milestone for our two year project and shows how far we have come since our first patient was offered this remote monitoring option last summer. Feedback from people using the app and those who care for them continues to be overwhelmingly positive and this is echoed by our own health and care professionals.
“As a result of the work we’re doing, we have been able to give people like Bryan the confidence to manage their own health. With health and care services experiencing a winter like no other, this undoubtedly helps reduce some of those pressures with people confidently being able to take control of their health, safe in the knowledge help is a phone call away.”
The service was made possible after a £400,000 cash boost provided by NHSX as part of their £3m programme to expand digital solutions across Yorkshire and the Humber.