Remote monitoring using smartphone apps could transform the medical care of patients with long-term health conditions, according to new research led by University of Manchester scientists. The study of patients with rheumatoid arthritis provides the strongest evidence yet that smartphone technology could make best use of doctors’ and patients’ time when the data are integrated into the NHS.
The study is published in the journal Rheumatology and jointly fund by Versus Arthritis and the National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (NIHR CLAHRC) Greater Manchester. It tested remote monitoring using a smart phone app on 20 patients. The daily data from the smartphone app was uniquely integrate into the electronic health; so record at their hospital; so with the data summarise as a graph visible at their outpatient visit.
Long term condition
The findings are a boost for the one in four people in the UK who live with a long term condition; but spend less than 1% of their time with a healthcare professional. Lead author Professor Will Dixon from The University of Manchester said: “This feasibility study was conduct by a small group of enthusiastic self select patients and clinicians.
“But the positive experience of the consultations surpass all our expectations.” The app, jointly design by patients, clinicians and researchers; allow patients to input what symptoms they were experiencing each day; also the impact it had on their lives. Their doctors use; so the data generate by the app when carrying out face to face consultations. The system provide a “bigger picture” than doctors would otherwise get; capturing symptoms that would otherwise have miss.
Professor Dixon said: “Understanding at a single consultation how symptoms change between visits; often six months apart, can be challenging. “Patients find it difficult to recall their symptoms; also short consultation times may limit how thoroughly a history is explore. Patients also report that doctors could direct consultations in a way; that did not always explore issues that the patients felt to be important.
Using their smartphone apps
“But by using their smartphone data, patients benefit from consultations being focus around their own data; making discussions more personal. “Disease patterns were reveal that would have miss; so including flares and long term trends that otherwise be hide within the day-to-day fluctuation of symptoms. The app, which is not commercially available to the public; which was develop at the University of Manchester’s Connect Health team at the Centre for Health Informatics.
At present, however, the opportunities are not fully harness; often because consumer apps are not integrate into the NHS”, he add. Rheumatoid arthritis Patient Karen Staniland said: “Being one of the six patients involve in contributing to the app’s design; also specifically, being influential in making the research language relevant to meet our needs was a key element to the success and credibility of this study.”
Dr. Stephen Simpson, Director of Research at Versus Arthritis, add: “Rheumatoid arthritis affects hundreds of thousands of people in the UK, many of them living with pain and fatigue every single day. At Versus Arthritis we’re commit to investing in research and innovation to help people live better with arthritis.This study is an innovative and exciting example of how smartphones, an integral part of many people’s lives, could help people with arthritis manage their condition through more productive discussions with their doctor.”