The app, myCOPD, is the first NHS-approved digital self-management programme for COPD to be available outside of the UK.
Digital therapeutics pioneer my mhealth has announced the first international rollout of its NHS-approved COPD app, myCOPD in New Zealand. The rollout is initially focused on the Māori and Pasifika population, making it the first NHS approved digital self-management programme for COPD to be available in a clinical setting beyond British borders.
Within one District Health Board (DHB), around 300 patients will be the first in the country to have access to the app, with an aim to expand patient access. Over the last 2 years of working closely together, with COVID impacting initial launch plans, my mhealth and the leading DHB have the first COPD patients now benefiting from the online therapeutic. myCOPD provides patients with access to a digital self-management programme, perfecting inhaler technique with easy-to-follow inhaler videos, access to online pulmonary rehabilitation and learning how to manage their COPD from world experts. All of this enables healthcare professionals to remotely monitor symptoms of COPD, evolve and enhance service access for patients.
COPD is a major respiratory disease in New Zealand. An estimated 15% (200,000) of all New Zealanders aged over 45 years suffer from the condition and is the fourth leading cause of death in the region behind cancer, heart disease and stroke. The DHB set out to find a new digital solution to improve patient care as well as reducing costs of unnecessary admissions and discrepancies surrounding the access to and availability of healthcare. Following investment from Vodafone New Zealand, the clear objective is to improve the health of COPD patients and their access to services, with part of the population disproportionately affected with a prevalence twice that of other ethnic groups1.
The DHB selected myCOPD as the chosen solution, as the platform provides the key requirements local patients asked for, as well as the capacity to serve as a blueprint for other chronic conditions such as heart failure and diabetes. All of these have similar needs that are currently not being met due to lack of sufficient funding. Currently in the UK the app is used by over 50,000 people, improving the quality of care and the frequency of their check-ins.
Global Lead for my mhealth, Ian Thompson, commented, “All of us here at my mhealth are excited to bring myCOPD into New Zealand and into the respiratory teams hands at the DHB. We have been working together for almost 2 years to get this moving; the global pandemic prevented us getting started a year ago, but through hard work by all involved, we have finally got the first patients on board myCOPD.
“The main part of our work is focused on ensuring adaptations that are needed to the platform meet the needs of the Māori and Pasifika populations. We also want to recognise the support from Vodafone NZ, who have provided funds for this initial program. This support from Vodafone NZ puts the local digital health economy on its first steps towards its digital evolution, supporting the access of services into the homes of patients across the DHB and beyond for those suffering with COPD.
“This is something we have been doing with the NHS for a number of years and hope our learnings can accelerate the digital adoption.”