Cystic fibrosis virtual services win HSJ award

Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust has been awarded a Health Service Journal Partnership Award for its work with digital health start-up NuvoAir to improve the lives of people with cystic fibrosis (CF).

In partnership with Royal Brompton Hospital, NuvoAir has designed a patient platform with a clinician-facing portal to be used to self-monitor lung function, archive data and share this with patients’ clinical teams during virtual consultations. Key to this new service is the NuvoAir spirometer, a device that can be used at home to measure lung function (a measure of lung health) and, via Bluetooth, allows the results to be seen on patients’ mobile phones or tablets. The results can then be shared with the specialist CF clinical team at the Royal Brompton Hospital during virtual consultations, which can replace some outpatient appointments.CF team

The platform and virtual service were developed following patient surveys of adults with CF attending Royal Brompton Hospital. The surveys highlighted the impact of attending regular appointments on adults with CF, their family, careers and/or dependants. National guidelines recommend that all children and adults with CF attend their specialist CF centre at least four-six times a year. This often takes a full day and disrupts education, employment and family life, as well as presenting an increased financial burden.

The survey found that self-monitoring lung function, virtual services and ownership of clinical data were important to people with CF. The technology means many of the hospital’s 550 patients with CF will be able to replace some of their outpatient appointments with virtual ones, saving travel time to appointments and reducing the chances of this vulnerable patient group picking up an infection.

Royal Brompton Hospital’s Consultant Nurse in Cystic Fibrosis, Dr Susan Madge, said:

“We’re thrilled to receive this award which recognises the important work we’ve been doing to reduce both financial and time burdens for adults with CF.

“Patients were the driving force for this partnership and were at the centre of the design and build process. We wanted to put adults with CF back in the driving seat, to let them have ownership of their data and deliver virtual consultations to lead the way in changing the care delivered to adults with CF.

“Giving patients the ability to measure their own lung health has reduced the need to bring patients to hospital so often. It means they have a better idea how stable they are and if new treatments are working. We can then have conversations about their data over the phone or the internet instead of bringing them to clinic, making better use of our time and theirs.”