Ampersand Health has today announced a partnership with Our Dorset Digital and Rheumatology Dorset to roll out the My Arthritis App across the county, commencing at Christchurch Hospital. My Arthritis facilitates remote monitoring and communication between patients with arthritis and their NHS healthcare teams via the mobile app.
The app is designed to improve patients’ mental health and quality of life by helping them with stress management, medicine adherence, sleep quality and other factors. It was co-developed with doctors and patients at King’s College Hospital with support from the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society.
Arthritis is a common condition that affects more than 10 million people in the UK. The My Arthritis app is focused on inflammatory arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis, a long-term condition that causes pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints. According to Age UK, there are as many as 6,500 people in Dorset with rheumatoid arthritis.
When My Arthritis is used in partnership with a patient and their clinical team, it facilitates continuous communication between clinicians and patients outside of regular appointments, revolutionising the way people living with inflammatory arthritis in Dorset receive care. This is important as those with rheumatoid arthritis may have periods where symptoms become worse, known as flare-ups or flares. A flare can be difficult to predict, but with treatment it’s possible to decrease the number of flares and minimise or prevent long term damage to the joints.[iii]
Julie, a patient who uses the app in their self-management routine, says it can be useful in predicting when a flare up is developing by tracking trends in her symptoms. “Through the app, I can report a flare up or contact my rheumatology team if I need any help between appointments. The courses and activities also offer information on the disease which helps to reassure and put things in perspective with helpful tips and opportunities to reflect on your experience of the disease,” added Julie.
Dr. Jonathan Marks, Clinical Lead for Rheumatology Dorset, commented, “We know that patients who are engaged in their own care and have a strong understanding of their condition will feel more empowered and in control of their condition, and this increases their chances of better health outcomes. The My Arthritis app enables us to build better channels and processes for communication that can revolutionise the outpatient experience for both patients and clinical teams, bringing our communication into the 21st century.”
The company behind the app, Ampersand Health, has already seen great success with My IBD Care; an app that is used by tens of thousands of people worldwide, as well as by NHS Trusts across the UK, to transform the long-term management of inflammatory bowel diseases.
Nader Alaghband, Founder & CEO of Ampersand Health said, “I’m delighted that we are able to partner with the Rheumatology Network for Dorset and put My Arthritis in the hands of patients. As the NHS shifts to more virtual models of care, we’re looking forward to supporting the Network in important areas like clearing long waiting lists, enhancing patient safety and supporting better mental health and quality of life for people with long term conditions.”