Mind my Heart – A UCLH app for heart failure patients 

13/12/2016 00:00 
An innovative mobile app for heart failure patients has been launched by University College London Hospital.
 

Mind my Heart is designed to help patients better manage their condition.

The first app of its kind to be used by an NHS hospital, Mind my Heart educates patients and helps them monitor their symptoms.

Heart failure, in which the ailing heart struggles to pump blood around the body, is a chronic fluctuating condition, requiring recurrent hospital admissions when severe. Optimising outpatient care and promoting effective self-care can cut the number of flare-ups but management of the condition can be demanding.

“Living with heart failure is difficult. Patients often have changes to medicines and new instructions which can be challenging to keep up with”, says Dr Mun Cheang, a UCLH heart failure registrar and one of the creators of Mind my Heart app. “As heart failure clinicians, we want to make it easier for patients to look after their condition.”

Like most chronic conditions, effective self-care is the cornerstone of good heart failure management. There is good support for patients in the community via consultant-led clinics and nurses.  Despite that, heart failure hospital admissions remain high (320 admissions in 2013-2014). 

“Clinicians are reliant on patients monitoring and reporting their concerns to us in the community”, says Dr Martin Thomas, clinical lead of heart failure services for UCLH and Camden Clinical Commissioning Group. “It is therefore vital that patients are engaged with their care and feel empowered to look after themselves while fully supported by our heart failure team.”

Dr Cheang worked closely with Dr Thomas to create an app that addresses key issues faced by patients. The app educates the patient on their condition and provides an interactive platform for self-monitoring.

The functions include a heart failure information resource, weight diary reminder, outpatient appointment reminder function and one-touch access to heart failure or cardiac rehabilitation team for advice.

The free app has also been designed to integrate seamlessly with outpatient clinic workflow in order to optimise clinic efficiency. Initial testing with patients has been overwhelmingly positive.  The plan is for all heart failure patients under UCLH to download the app so they can benefit from it.

“We are immensely excited and proud to be the first NHS heart failure service in the UK to offer a heart failure app for our patients”, says Jayne Bragg, lead heart failure nurse in UCLH. “By empowering our patients to manage their condition, we hope to help them maintain an optimal quality of life for as long as possible.”

The Mind my Heart app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store.

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