“Last year, before using myCOPD I had 12 exacerbations, this year I have had two. I now know when and how to take my medication, when to use my rescue pack and I perform my rehab exercises most days. I know far more about my COPD than before. I rely on my doctor far less than before.”
Patient feedback

myCOPD is an online self-management system that can reduce acute hospital admissions, NHS spending and improve the quality of patients’ lives.

An independent economic analysis suggests that myCOPD can save an average CCG £217,200 per year by cutting admissions, and moving to a new model of pulmonary rehabilitation that allows thousands, rather than hundreds of people to be helped.

Coping with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a major and growing challenge for the NHS in England with 835,000 diagnosed and 2.2 million undiagnosed cases leading to around 122,000 hospital admissions and 23,000 deaths a year. The direct care bill is £800 million.

myCOPD is effective because it educates and empowers patients to take more control of their own care. This brings significant improvements in inhaler use and raises the currently low levels of compliance with treatment.

The system also allows COPD care to be monitored and tailored at patient and population level.

The platform has been created by Simon Bourne, Portsmouth-based innovation and respiratory consultant, NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA) Fellow and founder of ‘my mHealth’, who has been developing the project in partnership with Wessex AHSN.

Challenge / problem identified

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a long-term respiratory condition (most commonly known as chronic bronchitis an/or emphysema) that is among the top five causes of death, leading to 24,000 deaths a year. It is also the second most common cause of hospital admissions with direct NHS healthcare costs of £800 million.

Hospital admissions are rising by 13% a year with 15% of those admitted dying within three months.

Around 835,000 people in England are currently diagnosed with COPD with 2.2 million undiagnosed.

In 2012-13 there were 121,836 hospital admissions (95% emergencies) which accounted for more than 778,000 bed days at a mean cost of £1,590 per patient.

As COPD has no cure it is essential to have effective symptom management. Even though this can be highly effective there are major problems as compliance with medication is poor, at between 10-40%. Most patients have an inhaler, but 90% do not use them correctly, affecting the dosage they receive.

Where patients feel functionally disabled by COPD, one of the standard responses is a PR programme. However, these are labour-intensive with high dropout rates, poor access and are expensive.

Actions taken

myCOPD was selected to join the NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA) in July, as part of the first-year cohort. The NIA is an NHS England initiative delivered in partnership with all 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs), and hosted at UCLPartners.

MyCOPD £20

As such, NIA Fellow, Simon Bourne (representing myCOPD) will be supported to scale this innovation across England’s NHS. myCOPD is also available on the 2017-19 Innovation and Technology Tariff (ITT).

Impacts / outcomes
  • myCOPD has proven to correct 98% of patient inhaler errors without clinical involvement
  • myCOPD doubles the rate of recovery from acute exacerbations
  • myCOPD, in a head to head RCT, has been shown to deliver the same outcomes as class-based Pulmonary Rehabilitation classes
  • CCG with an average COPD population of 5,000 patients would expect to make savings in the first year alone of over £200,000 if deployed to 60-80% if their COPD population
  • myCOPD’s PR service costs £20 for the lifetime of a patient, versus current NHS costs of £400-£800 per six-week course
  • myCOPD reduces the time to deliver the annual review in primary care by 75%.
Plans for the future

myCOPD originated from Wessex AHSN and was selected to join the NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA) in July 2015. The NIA will support myCOPD to scale nationally across England’s NHS, with bespoke support available from the NIA for a maximum of three years.

Which national clinical or policy priorities does this example address?

myCOPD helps deliver the commitments of the Five Year Forward View. It also helps meet Nice Clinical guideline 101 which states that PR should be offered to all patients who consider themselves functionally disabled by COPD. It addresses NHSE priorities for:

  • Care and Quality
  • Funding and Efficiency
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Driving Economic Growth.

AHSN priorities:

  • Long term conditions
  • Digital health
  • NHS Innovation Accelerator
  • STPs.
Start and end date


Contact us for help and advice

Simon Bourne, Respiratory Consultant, Founder of My mHealth
E: simon.bourne@mymhealth.com

Rebekah Tailor, Communications and Engagement Manager, NHS Innovation Accelerator
E: rebekah.tailor@uclpartners.com