The University of Leeds, Leeds Teaching Hospitals and Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trusts, and digital health company ELAROS, have developed an app to support patients with Long COVID.
Developed to enable patients to self-report their symptoms, the app will track the impact their symptoms are having on their daily living and their recovery.
The app will initially be available across 27 NHS trusts, with patients invited to use the app by their doctor or a member of their rehabilitation team. The first hospital is due to go live this week, and if the patient agrees, data will be shared with accredited research institutions.
It uses a version of the COVID-19 Yorkshire Rehabilitation Scale (C19-YRS), a questionnaire developed during the first wave of the pandemic to aid the diagnosis and assessment of long COVID symptoms.
The app takes the patient through a series of questions to record their health status before contracting COVID, and what it is now. The information is displayed in radar plots: one showing the severity of symptoms and the second how the symptoms are impacting on a patient’s ability to perform daily activities – their level of functional disability.
Patients will be asked to regularly update the app and over time, the radar plots will show what progress they are making towards recovering their health.
Dr Manoj Sivan, Associate Professor in the School of Medicine at the University of Leeds and Consultant in Rehabilitation Medicine at Leeds Teaching Hospital and Community Healthcare NHS Trusts, is the lead academic in the project.
He said: “Long COVID is a new condition, and it is causing long-term health problems for many patients. Given the scale of the problem, it is likely to strain healthcare services and burden the economy. We need efficient systems to manage the growing caseload and to standardise care across the NHS.
“The app and associated web portal will allow healthcare staff to rapidly assess and triage patients. Patients and families can also see their progression and their response to treatments.”
Jenny Davison, Physiotherapist and Long Covid Rehabilitation Service Coordinator with Leeds Community Healthcare Trust, added: “A patient will be able to update the app at different stages in their recovery – and it will show them and their clinician how they are improving and what areas might need more targeted input.
“It provides an excellent visual demonstration of the data in graph format for patient to see at a glance the improvements they have made.”