TECS can help with the clinical management of COPD by reinforcing the patient management plan (link to COPD management plan in resources) using Flo, where a patient is asked daily about their sputum colour, temperature, and speed of breathing, if indicated; they are also asked to send in their SATS reading. Periodically, they are sent messages encouraging them to remain as active as they can.

If patients need reminders to take their tablets, go for a walk, or eat a meal, these can also be set up using Flo.

Below is a video of a practice nurse with a patient called Pat who has been helped to gain confidence and improve her life as a result of using Flo

You can also see below another nurse and a patient explain how they have used Flo for COPD.

The Manage Your Health app, created by Keele University, the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network and Stoke-on-Trent CCG which is free to download, has useful information which patients can have on their smartphone.

Alternatively an app called MyCOPD is being widely used in the NHS.

When using Flo to support patients with COPD, patients will usually have a management plan such as the one found in Flo Resources. Flo asks about their sputum colour, and if this is becoming green, then their temperature. Patients are also asked for their SATS reading, although an alternative protocol without this question can be chosen. Ideally, patients will have a SATS monitor, and a thermometer. They are also asked to sign a consent form, available in the resources section, which makes it clear that their responses are not monitored daily, and they should seek medical help in the usual way if they are concerned about their health. One further aspect of the consent form is that the patient, having started their ‘rescue medication’ of steroids and antibiotics agrees to contact the surgery within two days, to discuss their progress, and order replenishment of the medication. A leaflet for patients, explaining what to expect from Flo, is also available in the Flo Resources section.

It could be possible to review patients with COPD via video consultation such as Skype, especially if they were already being monitored remotely by other means. Where a patient is in a nursing home, it may be that an electronic stethoscope could provide reassurance that the patient could safely remain in the community, rather than require hospital admission. See more information about Skype in ‘TECS in use’.

Closed Facebook groups could provide peer to peer support, especially where patients have become isolated. Information about managing the condition could be publicised on a Facebook page which could be viewed by patients and relatives.

Wearable technology may have a place for some patients in helping them to remain active, and simple reminders on a smartphone could remind them to do exercises which they have been taught at pulmonary rehabilitation groups.