Digital Healthcare and Medtech News

Jane Stokes

Jane Stokes

9 Jun, 2020

Pulmonary Rehabilitation Centres adopt myCOPD to deliver rehab service remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Clinical Engagement Specialist Jane Stokes on innovation in the face of adversity: digitally enhanced pulmonary rehabilitation.

mycopd app
myCOPD is available on the Apple App Store, Google Play Store and all the most recent web browsers.

They say that necessity is the mother of adoption, which certainly appears to be true in the world of digital health. Recent unprecedented events have resulted in the suspension of all face to face pulmonary rehabilitation services and an almost complete cessation of COPD outpatient clinics. Out of the adversity, health care services have realised that it is essential to continue to support patients with COPD to avoid deterioration and an increase in COPD emergency admissions. This has led to far greater adoption of the myCOPD App. My mhealth have worked to support services with existing access, as well as initiating access to the myCOPD App to support those not previously engaged. In a very short space of time services have overcome traditional barriers to adoption, adapted delivery pathways, and are already realising the benefits that digital enhancement presents.

myCOPD is a patient self-management App referenced within the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD 2020) guidelines, the British Thoracic Society (BTS) resource pack for Pulmonary Rehabilitation, and NICE guidelines for COPD to support patient self-management and the delivery of pulmonary rehabilitation. Over 50% of health care providers in NHS England (NHSE) gained access to the myCOPD App through the NHSE Innovation and Technology Tariff (ITT 2017/19). I have been working with services to embed the myCOPD App with varying levels of success. There are some common themes of resistance: the ‘not invented here’ culture; making assumptions on digital capability, accessibility and appetite with the ‘not for our patients’ response; there is also a perceived threat to resources (time, jobs). However, many services have thrived with digital transformation leading to some truly innovative models of care. In 2018 an Enhanced PR programme was launched in Southend utilising myCOPD, offering a flexible approach to pulmonary rehabilitation delivery allowing patients to complete either centre- or home-based rehab or a combination of the two.

Review of progress at the end of year one showed improved completion rates, a doubling of service capacity whilst maintaining the same outcomes for patients in both exercise capacity and quality of life scores.

No one could have predicted that we would be in a position whereby all face to face pulmonary rehabilitation would be suspended, but in response to the current situation, my mhealth have worked to support those areas with existing access to myCOPD, sharing models of best practice to support service delivery and patient care. The decision was also taken to widen the opportunity to support the delivery of pulmonary rehabilitation by offering access to myCOPD to pulmonary rehabilitation services for 3 months, at no cost to the service or patients. Already 21 new sites expressed an interest and 19 of those sites have since been set up, trained and are issuing licences to their patients.

The current pandemic has resulted in a remarkable transformation in the way we have delivered services to our patients. These skills, from remote video consultations, working collaboratively with colleagues using teams and embedding new digital tools into our normal working days has made us realise the benefits that digitally-enabled healthcare can bring to our clinical services.

If you're a healthcare professional or clinician and want to know more about how myCOPD can help your patients, you can find out more at or by calling my mhealth on 0044 (0)1202 299 583


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