'Ground-breaking' new app to help Long Covid patients first used in Salford

Using the new long covid app Credit: NHS Northern Care Alliance

People in Salford living with Long Covid are being supported with the help of a ground-breaking mobile app and clinical website to track their recovery and improve their health.

A team from the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group (NCA), has been working with Salford City Council’s Health Improvement Service to support people suffering from persistent symptoms after contracting Covid-19.

The Office of National Statistics estimates that 1.1 million people in the UK currently have long Covid which is the persistent symptoms that last for four weeks or longer after contracting the virus, such as breathlessness, fatigue, brain fog, pain and general decline in health and wellbeing.

Up until now the Salford team has been using the Yorkshire Rehabilitation Scale (C19-YRS) to aid diagnosis and assessment of long Covid symptoms. This was initially being collated manually, with 24 patients being contacted each week since February.

Since then, there has been a call for more efficient systems to manage the growing long Covid caseload and standardise care across the NHS.

Now Salford patients will be able to download an app onto their mobile device and update their progress at varying stages of their recovery, allowing their clinician to make any changes to their care management plan.

Taruna Patel from Salford’s Single Point of Access team, said:“The symptoms of long Covid can be devastating for many people and we can now better understand people’s complete range of symptoms.

“Our patients are very keen to use the app as another tool.

She added: It was quite tiring and time consuming, particularly those with sever long Covid symptoms.

Programme manager Sarah Cannon explained: “The app means information can now be sent electronically direct to the Long Covid Clinic Team, so they have information ahead of appointments. We can even decide on the length and type of appointments using the tool to match the needs of the patient.

“The tool will also help with reporting data required for long Covid at a national level.”

The team at Salford Care Organisation says the feedback from patients so far has been really positive.

One patient, Sarah Bleasdale, 49, of Salford, who has been using the app for a few weeks, said:

The app, developed by Elaros, in partnership with The University of Leeds NHS Trust, enables patients to self-report symptoms and the impact their symptoms are having on their daily health and wellbeing.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have recommended use of the digital platform within national guidance for post-covid syndrome assessment clinics.

The app uses the latest scientific research and 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 and uploaded into the patient record.

Patients are asked to regularly update the app and over time it shows what progress they are making.