SPSC17: Respiratory physio highlights how apps can help patients to breathe

Award-winning digital pioneer Stephanie Mansell has told physiotherapy students how mobile technology and apps using ventilation and respiratory technologies can aid clinical practice.


Consultant respiratory physio Stephanie Mansell urged delgates to publish and share their reseach

The consultant respiratory physiotherapist at the Royal Free Hospital in London looks after patients with sleeping complications and explained ways of deciding which technologies to use.

Earlier this year Frontline reported how she uses technology to help monitor patients who receive non-invasive ventilation at home and received an NHS Digital Pioneer Award.

Ms Mansell told delegates at the Scottish Physiotherapy Student Conference (SPSC17): ‘There are 165,000 health apps in the apps store, from robotics to virtual reality and gaming to wearable technology, so it is difficult to know where to start.’

In addition NHS Digital only has 42 apps on its developing health apps library that have been approved as safe, secure and private.

Sleep apnoea app

Delegates were played a video from ORCHA, an organisation and resource that gives scores for risk and value when reviewing health apps.

And Ms Mansell gave an example of an app she uses to monitor a patient with obstructive sleep apnoea.

‘Patients like this often struggle to comply with using the machine and the mask they use during sleep,’ she said.

‘The manufacturer of the machine I use came up with an app that alerts me if there are changes in pre-set parameters, so I know if a patient is not using the machine as much as they should or if the mask is leaking. It also sends the data to the patient, so they can self-manage.’

She added a plea to delegates: ‘One of the biggest barriers to implementing technology is evidence-based practice, so please publish your research and share it.’

And the NHS blocks many apps because of data security firewalls. She asked students to escalate this problem to NHS Digital – NSS in Scotland – so that appropriate apps can be compliant.

Only 33 per cent of her patients have taken up the app technology and she is launching a study into why others are resistant.

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