Nearly 10,000 patients in Sunderland diagnosed with long-term lung conditions are being offered an innovative new way to manage their condition.
The free myCOPD app is a clinically-approved NHS application for smartphones and tablets which is being offered to patients in the city diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
COPD refers to a group of lung conditions which includes bronchitis and emphysema. An estimated three million people have COPD in the UK, though only about 900,000 have been diagnosed.
The myCOPD app is being made available to patients with funding from NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS England, and is full of useful information and advice on managing the condition including inhaler technique videos, education from experts and a complete online pulmonary rehabilitation class.
Dr Ian Pattison, clinical chair at NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Patients using this app will be able to take greater control of their condition by monitoring managing and keeping track of their symptoms, all from the comfort of their own homes.
“By giving patients access to myCOPD we can ensure they get accurate and helpful information. Having access to good quality advice can help people manage their condition and keep themselves well.
“There is no cure for COPD and smoking cessation alongside good symptom management plays a crucial role in helping patients stay as healthy as possible to prevent exacerbations. Exacerbations often require intensive treatment and can be severe enough to require hospital admission.”
The main cause of COPD is smoking, although in rare cases the condition can affect people who have never smoked. However, the likelihood of developing COPD increases the more you smoke and the longer you smoke.
Some cases of COPD are caused by long-term exposure to harmful fumes or dust, or occur as a rare genetic problem that means the lungs are more vulnerable to damage.
myCOPD can be downloaded onto any internet connected smart device such as phones, tablets, computers and smart TVs using a licence code provided by doctors and nurses when they are treating people with the condition.
The app is being introduced to patients following World COPD Awareness Day on November, 21. World COPD Day is organised by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) in collaboration with health care professionals and COPD patient groups across the world.