Barts Health launches new app to aid Covid-19 recovery

Barts Health NHS Trust has launched a new rehabilitation app to aid recovery of Covid-19.

The app has been developed by health tech company Living With, along with clinicians from Barts Health and University College London researchers.

In late 2019, University College London Hospital launched a version of the app to help oesophageal cancer patients and nurse specialists.

The app launched at Barts Health aims to support people treat the lasting symptoms of Covid-19, such as tiredness, breathlessness and anxiety.

Launched last week, the tool combines evidence-based methods from physiotherapists, psychologists, dieticians and respiratory physicians to create bespoke treatment plans for each patient. The app supports the existing rehab pathway and for those who do not have a smart device, a paper version of the information is available.

Dr Paul Pfeffer, respiratory physician at St Bartholomew’s Hospital and Queen Mary University of London, said: “The proportion of people needing further help is really high. We’re finding that half of the patients we discharge from hospital, are still experiencing significant symptoms after three months.”

“There are simply not enough resources to reach everyone recovering from Covid-19 who are in need of using traditional models of care, such as face-to-face appointments. This tool allows us to provide high-quality treatment to large numbers of patients simultaneously.”

Elizabeth Murray, project lead and clinical deputy director at the UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering, said: “The uniqueness of this tool is that the whole treatment programme is delivered digitally, with remote support from clinicians. This benefits patients unable to come into the clinic, but it also allows us to help a far greater number of people in a cost-effective and time-effective way.”

Chris Robson, chief executive of Living With, added: “We have packaged up life-changing clinical input into an app and are providing it to patients through our existing remote condition management platform, to help them recover safely and comfortably from home.”

“This launch with Barts Health is only the first step in turning the product into a smarter AI driven intervention that will be rolled out more widely across the UK.”

The app is in use at Barts Health hospitals, with plans to roll out to UCL Partner hospitals in the near future.