Local Support Service for COPD Patients

iplato logoiPLATO Healthcare, the leader in mHealth, reported that patient response to a new local support service for COPD patients in Greenwich has been overwhelmingly positive. Over the last few weeks, hundreds of people with COPD have signed up to receive alerts, advice and signposting about how to remain in control of their health and stay well in the comfort of their own home. NHS Greenwich provides this service to patients across the Borough using the iPLATO’s technology platform.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an umbrella term used to describe a group of progressive airways diseases including chronic bronchitis and emphysema. There is no cure for COPD but a lot can be done to relieve its symptoms. Preventative interventions include stop smoking and various forms of medication and the flu jab. Contributing factors to symptoms worsening include changing weather conditions. According to the NHS Information Department, an average hospitalisation costs the tax payer £1,946. NHS Greenwich estimates that COPD is the cause of 1 in 20 hospital admissions in their part of London.

NHS Greenwich aims to provide a localised, personalised and holistic service to help patients stay in control of their condition and to avoid unnecessary hospital admissions. To achieve this aim the patient messaging service will – in addition to communicating known triggers such as local weather changes and invitation to preventative services – also help with practical details such as getting necessary medication from the GP before bank holidays and other times when less support may be available.

Initial feedback has been very positive and encouraging: “The COPD support service is a brilliant idea, even though I am normally on top of my condition an extra reminder would help,” says one patient who enrolled to the service after receiving a text invitation from her GP surgery.

“It is important for patients with COPD to be supported to manage their condition and feel more in control of their illness. This new service enables patients with COPD to get the right information at the right time to do this. It will provide the essential support, information and advice that is required for people with COPD to stay well,” says Dr Eugenia Lee, GP.

Jackie Davidson, Associate Director of Public Health says: “In Greenwich, there are over 3,000 people that have been diagnosed with COPD and about another 4,000 people that are undiagnosed and untreated because they don’t recognise the symptoms. This patient messaging service is a great example of how we can use our local knowledge to help people manage their condition to remain well. We hope to bring real benefit and extend the service to even more people.”