Support our Nation today - please donate here

New NHS Wales lung apps could reduce demand on GPs by a third

31 Jan 2023 3 minute read
Picture by NIAID (CC BY 2.0).

An analysis of new NHS Wales asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) apps shows that they could significantly reduce pressure on GPs and admissions to A&E.

The apps created by the Institute for Clinical Science and Technology (ICST) currently have over 20,000 downloads, and 99% of GP practices in Wales have patients using them.

An analysis of the app data shows that people who regularly use them for more than six months improve their lung health, resulting in over a third (36%) of users reducing their visits to the GP and one in five (19%) reducing admissions to A&E.

Leading lung charity Asthma + Lung UK Cymru is encouraging anyone with asthma or COPD to download the NHS Wales health hub apps to help ease the current extreme pressures on health services in Wales.

Rather than seeing a healthcare professional once a year, the apps, which also include one designed for parents to help children with asthma, allow people to monitor their condition on an ongoing basis, helping someone avoid a potentially life-threatening asthma attack or COPD flare-up and reducing the risk of hospitalisation.

Lung disease costs NHS Wales over £500 million a year, making it the fourth most costly disease area.

The apps are all available to download on both Apple and Google App Store.

Better equipped

Dr Simon Barry, National Clinical Lead for respiratory disease in Wales, said: “These apps are the culmination of a partnership between patients and the NHS in Wales with the aim of creating expert patients, better equipped to manage their own respiratory illnesses.

“They are free to use, bilingual and have been shown to reduce accident and emergency attendances and GP visits in those who regularly use them. We need all healthcare professionals to be promoting their use.

Joseph Carter, Head of Asthma + Lung UK Cymru added: “Right now, people who have lung conditions are extremely concerned about the uncertainty of access to healthcare. Living with any chronic illness adds a certain amount of stress to your life and these digital tools can help mitigate that and provide comfort for those living with COPD and Asthma in Wales.

“Technology offers much promise, but we are still at the early stages. More needs to be done to help ensure that people with lung conditions like asthma and COPD can benefit from a new connected way of self-managing their condition.”

Alice Spencer from Cardiff uses the asthma app on a regular basis. She said: “Before using the app, I wasn’t aware that if I’m using my reliever inhaler three times a week or more it could mean that my asthma is not well controlled and that I could be at risk of an asthma attack.

“I am now more confident in managing my condition at home and only contact my GP if I am concerned about my symptoms. I feel the app is very useful and empowers people with asthma to manage their own condition more effectively on a day-to-day.

Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.