As the number of confirmed cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continue to rise across the UK, the government has released its latest guidance on managing the impact of the outbreak – including asking people to self-isolate if showing symptoms.
With less patients attending general practices in person, and an increasing number of people choosing to self-isolate at home, digital health resources offer a practical tool that can be called upon for remote self-management.
There is a plethora of apps that can help with health-management, remote-monitoring and staying healthy. Apps not only help to keep pressure off the NHS in a time of high demand, but also allow patients to protect themselves and others from unnecessary risk. However, app stores are unregulated, and 85% of apps do not meet ORCHA’s quality threshold.
To support NHS efforts, below we have listed tested apps for you to be aware of, that support:
- Self-care, managing anxiety, and wellbeing for all
- Management of diabetes, respiratory and heart condition symptoms
- Reducing pressure on NHS services.
Each of the following apps meet ORCHA’s quality threshold for apps that are safe to use.
ORCHA helps the NHS to assess and build apps into practice. Please feel free to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like any more information or advice on finding suitable apps to help you or your patients with self-managing health and care during this time of uncertainty.
Coronavirus: Apps to help self-management
Apps supporting self-care and managing anxiety:
- Wysa* is an emotionally intelligent chatbot which employs research-backed, widely used techniques such as CBT, DBT, Yoga and meditation, to support users with stress, anxiety, sleep, loss and a whole range of other mental health and wellness needs.
- Fabulous* takes a holistic approach to motivate users to be more productive and have higher energy. The app is more than just a habit tracker, or a way to create new rituals – it’s a personal coach and happiness trainer.
- Your.MD is a health tracker and symptom checker powered by Artificial Intelligence, which has been developed by doctors and data scientists. It provides instant personalised health information and services, whenever and wherever it’s needed, for free.
- eQuoo* is an evidence-based Emotional Fitness Game, combining the excitement and joy of gaming and the expertise of mental health professionals to provide a new form of mobile prevention and therapy for young adults 18-28-years old.
Apps to manage respiratory and heart condition symptoms:
- my mhealth* is the leading supplier of self-management and rehabilitation apps and platforms in the UK for patients with COPD, Asthma, Diabetes and Heart Disease. These patient apps interact with a condition specific clinical interface, enabling efficient, population level remote models of care.
- myCOPD*, part of the my mhealth platform, has been designed and built by COPD experts. It allows users to perfect their inhaler technique, manage their COPD from world experts, and complete online pulmonary rehabilitation classes from the comfort of their home.
- myAsthma* (my mhealth) incorporates Symptonet, my mHealth’s AI engine that helps patients to manage their asthma. If Symptonet detects a patient is using their rescue inhaler more than expected, they’re given further advice on how to manage their symptoms.
- myHeart* (my mhealth) supports patients with heart disease or recovering from cardiac surgery. Delivering personalised self-management and cardiac rehabilitation programmes, the platform has over 50 new educational videos.
- Zephyr Guide is an inhaler technique guide to help with easier breathing, improved health and better quality of life.
- Smart Peak Flow* allows users to track their asthma and learn their triggers using smart sensor technology.
Apps to manage diabetes:
- myDiabetes* (my mhealth) provides 24-hour self-management, education and expert advice to patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The app allows users to monitor their blood glucose, HbA1C, and other risk factors, to reduce the risk of serious long-term complications. myDiabetes also brings users closer to their clinician, enhancing and enabling efficient care remotely.
- MySugr* is a diabetes logbook which auto-logs data, and allows users to collect daily therapy data such as meals, diet, meds, blood glucose, insulin, carbs and more. The app brings together a blood sugar tracker, carb logger, bolus calculator (EU only) and users’ estimated HbA1c.
- My Diabetes My Way is an online platform and smartphone app that supports self-management of diabetes. It gives patients access to hundreds of multi-media educational resources, e-learning courses, and access to their NHS data (electronic health record), and home recorded data (home blood glucose monitoring, weight, BP, activity data).
Apps helping to reduce pressure on the NHS:
- Ask NHS provides users with improved access to NHS services. Users can talk through their symptoms in complete confidence with Olivia, a virtual health assistant. If needed, Olivia will arrange for a call back from a 111 Nurse to discuss symptoms further. The app also allows users to search NHS approved healthcare advice.
- Pharmacy2U allows patients to order and manage their NHS repeat prescriptions whenever and wherever they are needed. Pharmacy2U takes care of everything, from requesting prescriptions from the patient’s GP, to the delivery of the medication directly to the patient, for free.
- Health Help Now lists common symptoms and offers suggestions for treatment, so that patients can find the right health service to use. The app also includes details of a number of useful websites and helplines for a variety of health problems.
Experts think that coronavirus can survive on surfaces, possibly for days, so it’s important that your phone – at home, mobile or at work – is cleaned thoroughly and often. As modern phones tend to be water-resistant and sterilising wipes could damage the screen, you could clean your phone with regular soap and water and a single-use paper towel – but do check your phone is water-resistant before you try it. (1)
*may include in-app purchases
(1) Coronavirus: Eleven of your most popular questions, answered
(2) GPs told to switch to digital consultations to combat Covid-19
(3) Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) standard operating procedure