HealthQuest Solutions was granted a £960,000 ($1,500,000) Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) award from the United Kingdom to support the development of the company’s myCOPD Solution. The system is designed to improve both the knowledge and coping skills of patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) through online tools.
MyCOPD Solution is a series of online educational pages and videos that aims to support COPD patients’ health self-management improving their knowledge and understanding of the disease, as well as to tackle the difficult emotional component of suffering long-term from COPD. It offers tutorials on correct inhaler techniques, relaxation skills and exercise tips as well, and the company now expects to use the grants to accelerate its development process.
“We’re thrilled to have been awarded this contract, which will be used to recruit more staff, market our products more widely and support the recruitment of further patients for two new studies,” explained mHealth Lead Nurse of HealthQuest Solutions, Mal North. “This contract will make a huge difference to the services that we can provide to clinical commissioning groups across the country, meaning bigger savings for the NHS, and better outcomes for patients.”
Wessex Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) has been working in collaboration with the UK government, and was involved in the approval of the SBRI award. The Director of Wealth & Enterprise for Wessex AHSN, Andy Burroughs, explained that the “AHSNs work closely with the SBRI to support innovative solutions and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of health and care in England.”
“We do this by helping SMEs develop promising new products and create new routes to market for their ideas. We congratulate HealthQuest Solutions on the remarkable success it has achieved since the company was formed just two years ago. With this contract, we hope that their already impressive accomplishments can benefit more people living with long-term conditions and help solve NHS challenges,” Burroughs added.
MyCOPD Solution has already been granted two contracts from the UK government, due to the success of the company’s first phase trial that tested the system in 36 patients, for a period of six months. Within the first studies, the researchers used the COPD Assessment Tool (CAT) score to measure the patients’ symptoms and evaluate their inhaler techniques. The study revealed that COPD patients who had access to advanced electronic self management systems, including myCOPD Solution, significantly improved their symptoms as well as inhaler technique.
The researchers registered that 98% of the patients did not use their inhalers correctly at the beginning of the trial, while by the end, 98% were able to use them properly — a direct result of myCOPD Solution. It was the study results that led to a second phase SBRI contract, which is an investment program that unites both public sector challenges and innovative projects from the private sector. The awards are meant to support business achievements and fast track government goals, as well as promote the growth of the British economy.