My Arthritis App: Q&A for Clinicians

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Ampersand Health is an expert in the development of digital therapeutics for long-term inflammatory conditions.

Specialising in these immune mediated disorders, Ampersand Health have 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 long term management of IBD. 

On the back of this success for clinicians and patients, Ampersand Health created the My Arthritis app and has just released digital therapeutics on the app that are focused on inflammatory arthropathies. The core functionality of the My Arthritis app is similar to My IBD Care with tolls to help patients self-manage their condition, as well as a clinical portal enabling clinician-patient communication outside regular outpatient appointments, streamlining clinical care for all those involved.

Q: How was your work in IBD translated into rheumatoid arthritis? 

A: There are numerous similarities across many kinds of long-term inflammatory conditions. As well as building on our learnings from My IBD Care, we have also collaborated with an expert team of rheumatologists to bring My Arthritis to life. Consequently, we have adapted our app-based approach, that has seen huge success in improving management of IBD, to help people with arthritis to better manage their condition. 

Q: What is My Arthritis? 

A: Much like my My IBD Care, My Arthritis is an app that helps improve people’s experience living with inflammatory arthritis. The platform can be used by a patient independently to help them self-manage through educational resources and courses, or in conjunction with a clinical team if their NHS Trust uses the platform. When My Arthritis is used in partnership with a patient and their clinical team, it facilitates a channel for two-way, asynchronous communication, which opens up a whole host of possibilities for revolutionising the way that we provide care for people living with arthritis.

Q: How is My Arthritis used in clinical practice? 

A: My Arthritis can be used in a number of ways: 

1) Managing the outpatient ecosystem and improving patient-clinician communication.

Moving patients who are safe and well, away from the 3-4 monthly check-up cycle by creating a self-reporting process for PROMS, which can be directly shared with and accessed by clinical teams via the clinical platform. This information can then be reviewed regularly and can be used to instruct blood tests of safety monitoring. This means that patients who are well-managed, or in remission, can be monitored remotely and clinical teams can be more reactive to patients who are experiencing challenges or flares, reducing the need for steroid prescriptions and hospitalisations. The messaging function makes it possible to interact with an individual patient or to send messages to whole groups of patients, as often as needed. 

2) Building a database 

The platform creates a patient-database that is safe and secure, containing all necessary information. This database is not only simple to use and easily searchable by name, date of birth or even medication, but it can also be used for research purposes to track trends over time. The system is able to also let patients know about upcoming observational and interventional clinical studies that they may want to participate in. 

Q: How easy is it to implement My Arthritis into a department? 

A: The process is very straightforward and we do all the hard work for you to make sure the implementation is seamless. We’re very experienced in doing this and have a storing understanding of the internal information governance principles so we can advise you who to speak to within your own Trust or department to ensure we can get it up and running as quickly as possible. The platform is hosted on a secure cloud and does not require integration with IT, however we always recommend letting your IT teams know that you will be using My Arthritis. 

Once you’re up and running, you just have to upload the patient onto the app. You as the clinician can do it and also the patient can do it too. 

Q: How do patients use My Arthritis? 

A: Usual outpatient processes mean that clinical teams are only able to see a small number of patients, however My Arthritis means that the clinical team will be able to support a far greater number of people, in a meaningful way, on a daily basis. 

Using the app, patients will be able to engage in the following: 

  • Recording symptoms through PROMs 
  • Digital therapeutics interventions to support effective self management
  • Logging information of lifestyle factors including sleep, stress and exercise
  • Medication reminders to support medicines adherence
  • Educational content to help build understanding about the condition and medications
  • Directional communication with their clinical teams

Q: What are the clinical benefits of My Arthritis?

A: 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. Building in better channels and processes for communication can revolutionise the outpatient experience for both patients and clinical teams. Using these systems means that time and resource can be focused on supporting patients when they need it most, creating a more efficient department. As well as creating efficiencies for health services, more consultations can be virtual which also creatives savings for patients in time, expense and travel.

Have questions about our My Arthritis app? Contact us at info@ampersandhealth.co.uk and we would be happy to speak with you! 

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