Nice Recommends Digital Technologies For Patients With COPD

Over the last few years, the medical industry has been transformed by technological advancements, including the increased use of cloud storage for medical images, artificial intelligence (AI), and online diagnostic tools. 

One of the most recent developments is the use of digital technologies to help patients in need of rehabilitation and therapy. 

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recently revealed two online programmes have been recommended for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). 

While nine out of ten COPD patients who complete a rehabilitation programme state it helps them achieve a better quality of life, face-to-face appointments are only offered to 13 per cent of those who are eligible. 

That is why myCOPD and SPACE for COPD have been recommended by NICE’s medical technologies advisory committee, which are designed to provide exercise and education so that patients can better manage their condition. 

These can give those who are unable to access face-to-face rehabilitation or would prefer not to be treated in person the opportunity to still be able to improve their health. 

Interim director of the Health Technologies Programme at NICE Mark Chapman noted: “There is a huge unmet need for access to pulmonary rehabilitation programmes by people with COPD.”

He added that these programmes have been designed to help those in areas without face-to-face services still they “receive the vital care they need”. 

However, the digital programmes would not replace the in-person pulmonary rehabilitation services where they are available. 

More than 1.17 million people in England have COPD, though it is thought another two million have the condition but are not aware. 

It is a respiratory illness with symptoms that include persistent wheezing, chest infections, breathlessness, chesty coughs, chronic bronchitis and emphysema. 

Although the main cause is smoking, it can also develop after long-term exposure to harmful fumes or dust. 

Other treatments for COPD include inhalers to make breathing easier or, in extreme cases, lung transplants.