MyCOPD Digital Health Champions

2nd May 2023

Unity Insights were commissioned by West of England Academic Health Science Network to support the delivery of a mixed-methods evaluation into the COPD Digital CHAMP (Coaching Health App Implementation Partnership) project. The project aimed to improve the lives of patients living with COPD within BNSSG (Bristol, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire) by guiding them to self-manage their condition through the roll-out of the myCOPD app. The evaluation was delivered in partnership with the University of Bath and focused on the benefits of using digital health champions to enrol and support patients with the app, rather than the myCOPD app itself.

The quantitative evaluation sought to understand the engagement levels of the DHC-enabled myCOPD users and the characteristics and demographics of patients who accepted enrolment on to the app. A health economic analysis was also performed in the form of a cost-benefit analysis into the savings that increased, sustained app usage could bring to the healthcare system.

Data collected by the app developer, my mHealth, and through primary, secondary and community care deployments were analysed to support the quantitative evaluation of how DHCs have supported engagement and activity on the app, while drawing comparisons to support a cost-benefit analysis of how supported app usage can yield benefits to the healthcare system. Analysis was delivered to identify the proportion of patients that had shown sustained evidence of having engaged with the platform successfully, with assumptions drawn from previous studies into the myCOPD app informing the estimation of potential benefits.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) prevalence across Bristol, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) is rising along with England as a whole, with lung disease in the UK costing £11 billion a year.  Currently NHS respiratory services are struggling to provide support to patients with COPD, a recent-report highlighted that 75% of people with COPD are not receiving basic care. There is an increasing need therefore to support patients to self-manage their condition effectively, this requires new approaches and pathways of care.

Unsupported enrolment to self-management apps is often met with significant issues related to user error and adherence to guidance. The COPD Digital CHAMP project seeks to address this by funding dedicated staff members to support the enrolment process, while expressing the potential value of the app to the users themselves.

The project was found to be successful. While it did not provide universal benefits, a significantly higher proportion of users engaged with the platform and were regularly using it months after enrolment, compared to previous, unsupported, evaluations into the platform. The cost-benefit analysis suggested a potential benefit-cost ratio of 1.2, representing an estimated return of £1.20 for every £1 invested. Implementation costs meant that a negative benefit-cost ratio of 0.7 is expected in the first twelve months, before rising to 1.4 in subsequent years.


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