Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

An Android tablet-based digital mobile health system to support patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has been found to improve quality of care and aid self-management at home, according to a study published in the British Journal of General Practice.

A patient trials the tablet-based digital mobile health system
A patient trials the tablet-based digital mobile health system
These are important findings which will help clinicians think about what their patients should be expecting from tele-health and so help design better systems."
- Dr Veronika Williams, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford

The app integrates a daily symptom diary with the technology to monitor clinical parameters, as well as multimedia and educational tools to support the self-monitoring and self-management of COPD.

It has been developed at the University of Oxford by clinical researchers from the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences and engineers from the Department of Engineering Science.

The research is aligned with a project in the NIHR CLAHRC Oxford patient self-management theme, which aims to investigate whether remote support for COPD patients can improve mood.

COPD is one of the most common respiratory diseases in the UK and includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive airway disease. It places a significant burden on the health of those living with the condition.

Lionel Tarassenko, Professor of Electrical Engineering, Department of Engineering Science said:

"The emergence of Android tablets and iPads has given us the opportunity to develop apps which are tailored to the needs of patients with long-term conditions, even if they have little or no previous experience of using computers”.

The qualitative interview based study, led by Dr Veronika Williams from the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, aimed to explore COPD patients’ experience of using the system over a six-month period.

Patients reported that it was easy to use and provided reassurance, a sense of continuity of care, and increased awareness of varying symptoms over time. Patients also reported that they were more likely to engage in self-management behaviours such as breathing exercises and taking their medication regularly.

Dr Veronika Williams said:

“Our initial study has shown that these applications can support patients with chronic conditions like COPD to manage their own symptoms from home, which can improve patient wellbeing and reduce the need for hospital admission. These are important findings which will help clinicians think about what their patients should be expecting from tele-health and so help design better systems.”

Professor Andrew Farmer, who is leading a full-scale clinical trial evaluating the efficacy of this tele-health intervention to improve patients’ quality of life, said:

“By supporting self-management, tele-health may lead to sustainable improvements in health.”

The NIHR CLAHRC Oxford project will build on this work with additional data analysis to explore the use of mood screening questionnaires, outcomes for individuals with mood disorders and the impact of different interventions that specifically target such disorders. 

Paper reference: 

Williams V, Price J, Hardinge M, Tarassenko L, Farmer A. Using a mobile health application to support self-management in COPD: a qualitative study. BJGP 2014 64: 624 e392-e400 doi: 10.3399/bjgp14X680473

Sign-up for our newsletter

Keep up-to-date with the latest news, events and publications. 

Similar stories

Low calorie meal replacements are a cost-effective routine treatment for obesity in the NHS

NIHR CLAHRC Oxford supported Researchers: Replacing all regular meals with a low calorie diet of soups, shakes and bars, together with behavioural support, is cost-effective as a routine treatment for obesity

Only “modest” improvement in heart failure survival rates since 2000

Research led by Dr Clare Taylor and CLAHRC Oxford Director Professor Richard Hobbs finds that survival after a diagnosis of heart failure in the United Kingdom has shown only modest improvement in the 21st century and lags behind other serious conditions, such as cancer, in a large study published by The BMJ today.

Moderate to high intensity exercise does not slow cognitive decline in people with dementia

New research supported by CLAHRC Oxford and led by CLAHRC Oxford Theme 2 lead, Professor Sallie Lamb, suggests that while exercise can improve the fitness of people with dementia it does not slow their cognitive decline.

Presenting evidence to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Suicide and Self-harm Prevention

CLAHRC Oxford supported researchers were recently invited to present evidence to the ‘suicide and self-harm’ All-party Parliamentary Group (APPG). The group were surprised and impressed by the evidence presented and intend to forward it to the Minister for Health and Social Care, Jeremy Hunt.

CLAHRC Oxford Infographic Shortlisted for NIHR Digital Award

A CLAHRC Oxford infographic, produced to share the preliminary results of the OxFAB study with participants of the study, has been shortlisted as part of the NIHR’s Let’s Get Digital competition.

Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust tops table of recruitment for research

NIHR CLAHRC Oxford's host NHS trust has risen to the top of a table for the most people recruited to take part in research studies.