The British Lung Foundation (BLF) has launched a technology for lung health hub on their website. This hub aims to empower more people with lung conditions to use technology to help manage their condition better at home.
The launch of the hub ties into the charity’s annual awareness week, Love Your Lungs Week, (22-28 June). The theme of the week this year is staying connected through digital, and the leading respiratory charity hopes people with lung conditions can find technology that works for them and their individual need.
The BLF started work on the hub before the COVID-19 pandemic but have seen now, more than ever, digital health is vital. As thousands of people with lung conditions have been shielding and unable to leave the house, digital health is a vital tool to help people better manage their condition through remote information and advice.
One of the main features of the BLF technology hub is an app search for people to find the right health app for their individual need. The BLF worked with ORCHA on this function, who offer independent reviews of every app using their own scoring system. There’s a range of apps to help people manage their conditions in a variety of ways; through keeping a diary of symptoms, helping to improve inhaler technique, staying fit through exercise videos and helping people learn more about their conditions.
The hub also offers a technology guide, explaining key tech terms, information on how tech can keep people connected and stories from people with lung conditions on how tech has helped them.
Ian Bond, who has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), said “The BLF technology hub is a major step in helping people understand their own unique condition and help them manage it in partnership with their health care professional. It provides access to easy to use apps suitable to a wide range of users and people do not need to be a ‘techie’ to get real benefit. Do not let the word ‘technology’ baffle anyone, ‘apps’ are simply an easier way for people to record information about themselves and their condition. That information will lead to better understanding of the person and their disease and that has to be a good thing. The information can then be shared by the person with their health care professional to help build that essential partnership between doctor and patient.”
Michael Laffan, head of digital and marketing at the British Lung Foundation, said: “We’re proud to launch our technology hub at a time when digital health is more critical than ever. We worked very closely with people living with lung conditions to build a product that works for them. We want to empower people and help build their confidence to better manage their condition from home. We also know that many people with lung conditions are feeling isolated, so we hope to bring people together via online communities. We’ll continue to build the hub and support people during lockdown and beyond.”
Liz Ashall Payne, CEO, ORCHA, said: “A lack of advice means very few people with breathing conditions today use apps. For example, only 1% of people with asthma use an app to better manage their condition. With 1,500 asthma apps to choose from and 60% falling below quality thresholds, it is hard to spot the good from the bad and pick one that works for you. We are delighted that the British Lung Foundation is leading the way and helping people with lung conditions find the best apps.”
Dr Andy Whittamore, clinical lead for the British Lung Foundation, said: “Technology is a big part of many of our lifestyles, it was inevitable that technology would become part of the relationship between the NHS and it’s patients.
“Technology has allowed us to continue to support patients from the safety of their own homes during the COVID-19 crisis. As restrictions begin to lift, technology can continue to be used to allow quicker and easier interactions with healthcare professionals and be less disruptive on our lifestyles.
“Clinicians and their patients can all benefit in some way from greater use of technology – the hub gives reassurance to us all about which apps may be best suited to our patients with respiratory conditions.”
The BLF plan to continue to expand the HUB, adding in information on the best apps to use if you have, or have had, COVID. And encouraging more people to use online tools to exercise and stay active whilst in lockdown.