We recently wrote a post on how the NHS could potentially become digital but can digital health create a culture of self-management of chronic illnesses?
With apps dominating the technology sector, more and more healthcare apps have become mainstream ways to manage health issues. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, arthritis and heart disease are a number of chronic conditions affecting 15.4 million people and using up to 70% of the NHS budget, which is why the NHS are investing a huge amount of time and money in digital health.
So could embracing digital advances be the saviour of the NHS?
COPD costs the NHS over £800 million, this cost can easily be reduced with the implementation of apps such as ‘myCOPD’ a self-management solution for patients who suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease that helps patients track their treatment via the medication diary and watch videos to help with perfecting their inhaler techniques. Information from the app is also shared with their GP and consultants, who can advise patients when they may need to be seen. Further to this the app also tracks medication which can be ordered and delivered to the patient’s house saving the NHS a huge amount of money.
Department of Health figures show that the ‘myCOPD’ app has been estimated to have saved £200,000 to £300,000 in its first year. Dr Simon Bourne ‘myCOPD’ app developer said “We have proved that if you put the right tool in patients’ hands, they really can become experts in their condition and transform the way they use healthcare facilities,” Other apps that help manage diabetes and asthma were released in October with further apps in the pipeline for 2017.
Apps are not the only way that digital health is creating a self-managing culture, with an estimated 90% of people using mobiles or tablets an area in Newham set up an appointments via webcam scheme for 16-25year olds who suffered with diabetes promoting them to use the service to make skype appointments. The scheme improved the prevention of dropout rates from 16% to 28%.
The pressure for the NHS to save money is spearheading a more digital based NHS and in essence creating a culture of patients self-managing their illnesses at home.