26 March 2019

Innovative Trial Underway to Tackle COPD

 

In partnership with Storm ID and KenSci, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is undertaking an innovative clinical trial to combat Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). The first of its kind to be attempted, the trial aims to remotely monitor and treat patients with the severe lung disease in the hopes of reducing emergency hospital admissions and subsequent healthcare costs.

COPD affects 1.2 million people in the UK alone and is the second most common cause of emergency hospital admissions. The disease which causes the lungs to become damaged and inflamed usually results in breathlessness, chest infections and persistent coughing. Without effective treatment, these symptoms can worsen over time.

The trial will promote self-management of the condition through wearable devices and Microsoft’s cloud platform, Azure. Patients can record data about their health through the use of their device and breathing machine, which is then securely exchanged through the cloud between clinicians. With the support of machine learning, healthcare professionals can identify patients at high risk of exacerbation and administer preventative care.

Seattle-based KenSci is responsible for the world’s first vertically integrated machine learning healthcare platform, which is designed to process and transform data across multiple sources. Their role in the trial is to securely store patient-generated data using Microsoft Azure. Edinburgh-based Storm ID is a Microsoft partner and has developed the digital care pathways required to process this data into meaningful information.

The ground-breaking trial will involve 400 COPD patients and aims to reduce hospital admissions by one a year. At an average cost of £6,000 per admission, the savings could have a significant impact on the healthcare system that is struggling to cope with ever-increasing demand. Empowering patients to manage their own condition will move care into the community and support treatment with tangible data. If the trial proves to be a success, it may be rolled out to assist self-management of other conditions, such as diabetes.

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