New technology to help manage COPD symptoms trialled by NHS Lothian in Midlothian

A new tool to help patients with Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is being trialled by NHS Lothian’s Midlothian Community Respiratory Team (MCRT) in collaboration with Health Innovation South East Scotland.

Claire Yerramasu.
Claire Yerramasu.

COPD affects approximately 120,000 people in Scotland and is the second most common reason for emergency hospital admissions.

The Dynamic Scot project (remote physiological monitoring) allows patients to monitor their condition from the comfort of their own home through a digital service that can be accessed via a smartphone, tablet or computer.

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Patients are prompted each day to log on and answer questions about their symptoms and how they are feeling. This encourages them to self-manage their symptoms with the option to seek advice when needed via the messaging service. In the longer term this can flag up early signs of deterioration in their condition and help predict if they are at risk of hospitalisation.

Claire Yerramasu (pictured), advance practitioner physiotherapist and lead clinician for the MCRT pilot, NHS Lothian said: “COPD is the third most common cause of mortality world-wide and is a major healthcare problem. The prevalence of this condition is rising in the UK along with other parts of the world and we therefore need to come up with innovative ways of ‎better monitoring and supporting these patients.

“So far, I have received nothing but positive feedback from the patients currently trialling this new technology.”

Carmel Thompson, one of the patients in the trial said: “Using the online tool makes me think about the variability of my daily symptoms and how I am managing them and because of this I am more confident to wait longer to see if my symptoms resolve before using my rescue medications.

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“The service gives a good level of basic information for those who are willing to engage with it and the daily questions are very easy for me to do routinely in the morning.”

Another patient also trialling the new tool, Charlotte Sweeney added: “I have found the service useful for recognising my symptoms and knowing what to do and when. It is reassuring to have the messaging service to be able to contact someone with questions and queries.”