Using an app to support management of Post COVID-19 condition
Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust’s Post-COVID (long COVID) service implemented the use of an app with benefits for both patients and clinicians.
Patients are able to access evidence based resources and symptom tracking features, while clinicians can remotely monitor symptoms and provide individualised management.
The management of Long COVID is complex and each patient requires a timely and personalised assessment and rehabilitation programme. Patients can experience fluctuating symptoms over a prolonged time-period.
Empowering patients to adopt self-management strategies can allow them to live better with the condition and manage relapses without further clinical intervention.
The high volume of patients experiencing symptoms of a new condition stretched clinical resources and risked lengthy waits for treatment.
Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust wanted to deliver a Post COVID service that:
- provided timely access to individualised care.
- empowered patients to develop self-management skills.
- equipped patients with resources to use.
Solution and impact
Digital applications were researched, and the team implemented the use of Living With COVID recovery.
This app meets the needs of both clinicians and patients, offering a symptom tracking ability for patients, a communication platform, data collection and an easy to access resource library.
- 74% of all patients invited have registered (776 patients invited, 578 registered).
- Approximately 4 messages were sent per patient.
- Approximately 17 articles were read per patient.
- 77% of patients were completing assessments.
- contains a library of evidence-based resources.
- contains digital courses covering self-management strategies.
- allows patients to track symptoms such as energy and fatigue levels.
- is secure.
- complements our virtual workshops by allowing patients to access information again in their own time.
- provides a method of symptom tracking, which is encouraged in NICE guidance.
- helps patients to understand and stabilise their symptoms.
- allows clinicians to monitor patient’s symptoms remotely.
- patients can use the messaging feature to seek support from their named clinician between scheduled appointments.
- Patients can be onboarded at any stage in their treatment journey:
- following discussion at initial Post COVID assessment
- after attending symptom management workshops where the app has been discussed
- if patient requests at any point in their recovery journey
- Useful at all stages of patient’s rehabilitation journey
- Allows patients to access advice relevant to their own symptoms
Key learning points
- An app can serve as an excellent adjunct to support rehabilitative care in long COVID.
- It is important to ensure clear communication with IT and Information Governance colleagues within the organisation to support the introduction of a digital product.
- Patients were screened for IT literacy / ability to use digital software at assessment.
- If necessary, alternative methods to access resources were offered.
- Use of the digital app is not a requirement within the service as it is utilised as an adjunct to current treatment offers.
- 578 registered users in Oxfordshire Post COVID service (as of 25/01/2023).
- ‘I will always check a patient’ dashboard before a consultation so I can help to direct the conversation and assist in understanding when and where there may have been dips in recovery or increases in symptoms. It helps the patient to understand how useful the information is for them and for us.’ Emma Tucker, Post COVID Rehab Specialist, Oxford Health NHSFT.
- ‘In our Fatigue Management workshops we encourage the use of energy mapping and/or activity diaries. Being able to encourage the completion of these within the app is so useful for patients and to show an example taken from within the technology’. Rachael Rogers, myalgic encephalomyelitis or chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) Clinical Lead, Oxford Health NHSFT.
Find out more
Emma Tucker. Post COVID Rehabilitation Service Lead / Respiratory Physiotherapist. Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust
Chris Robson, CEO, Living With
These case studies summarise user and patient experiences with digital solutions along the relevant care pathway. Unless expressly stated otherwise, the apps and digital tools referenced are not supplied, distributed or endorsed by NHS England or the Department of Health and Social Care and such parties are not liable for any injury, loss or damage arising from their use.
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