An innovative new series of locally developed patient education animations that will accompany chronic lung disease patients on their care journey from hospital to home was launched at Cork University Hospital today.

The animations will help to optimise the management of patients with respiratory diseases like asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), lung cancer, Cystic Fibrosis (CF) and interstitial lung disease, by providing them with information about their conditions at their fingertips.

The project is a collaboration between the respiratory medicine teams at Cork University Hospital (CUH), Health Information Hub Ireland (HIHI), University College Cork (UCC), GSK and Lincor, a global leader in patient engagement technology.

Professor Barry Plant, Consultant Respiratory Physician, Cork University Hospital said this was the next step in the delivery of services in respiratory medicine for people attending CUH.

“It is recognising that how and where people access healthcare information has changed. We now reach out to our patients through new mediums. This project digitalises much of this information, allowing people to access it at times convenient to them. It’s very exciting as it brings together multi-disciplinary respiratory teams in CUH/HSE in collaboration with HIHI and UCC, which is supported by different academic sponsors, CFMATTERS, Lincor and GSK. We are bringing together local expertise to build something that is internationally credible,” he explained.

Dr Colman Casey, Director of the UCC-based HIHI said they were very proud to have managed this creative and innovative project which will be launched on Wednesday, April 12 at CUH during Grand Rounds. The theme of Grand Rounds that day is the development of local technologies to improve the respiratory patient experience and the title is Virtual Reality experience, mHealth and eLearning in lung disease:  the present not the future.

The first part of Grand Rounds will focus on the installation of Lincor bedside screens in the state-of-the-art respiratory ward at CUH, Ward 5b (opened in December 2015). The respiratory teams in CUH, HIHI and Lincor came together to develop on-screen patient education material for use by the patients in the ward.

A series of additional educational animations funded by GSK, that can be viewed by patients when they return home from hospital, will be launched during the second part of Grand Rounds. The remainder of the event will describe other technologies independently developed in-house at CUH funded by the EU research fund and the associated Cork Centre for Cystic Fibrosis Control based in the CUH Cystic Fibrosis centre. These include a virtual lung used for training medical students and a CF patient passport.

Dr Casey said:“Patients with chronic lung disease tend to know a lot about their condition and are always interested in learning more. This is a free service to help these patients manage their condition well after they leave hospital, where they may have been for quite a while. These short animated clips are an effective means of helping patients to absorb information that they may not have taken in while they were in hospital.”

The project is already up and running in Ward 5B where each patient has their own touchscreen device attached by cantilever to the wall beside their bed. There are folders containing information and animated clips on asthma, COPD, lung cancer, CF and interstitial lung disease, which patients can access by pulling the screen in front of them.

“The information on the patient education devices has been developed by the clinical teams at CUH to provide patients with a deeper understanding of their condition. The folders also contain information on physiotherapy, nutrition etc. There are videos of procedures, for example a lung drain, which patients can watch to ease their minds in advance of going in for a procedure,” Dr Casey explained.

Five separate animations have been developed to date by the clinical teams working closely with a learning technologist, Incareview and Lincor, who have a base on the Model Farm Road.

There are three COPD animations — a COPD information video, a video on safe oxygen use at home, and a video outlining the range of COPD outreach services offered by CUH.

There is also a smoking cessation animation created in conjunction with the smoking cessation officers at CUH, and a step-by-step video for CF patients on the administration of antibiotics after they come home from hospital.

The animations can be accessed in three ways by patients via a smartphone or computer. They are given a QR code during a medical consultation which brings them into the video clip, or they can download an app to view the material or access it through a web link.

Pat O’Donnell, Co-Founder and SVP of Patient Connectivity at Lincor explained: “Lincor’s Vision has been to ensure patients are engaged in their own care during their stay in hospital and, more importantly, that they are provided with the knowledge to continue to be active members of their own care plan after leaving the hospital.

“This vision can only be achieved through the concerted efforts of all who are involved in these projects and, in particular, the staff of the CUH and Cork Centre for Cystic-Fibrosis Control. Through the interaction of technology, care practitioners, healthcare providers, government agencies, university campuses and private companies extraordinary achievements can be made in improving patient care.”

Martijn Akveld, Director of Medical Affairs with GSK said “At GSK, we are committed to enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer.  We are proud to support this collaborative patient support programme which embodies our vision. The healthcare professionals in Cork University Hospital and the Health Innovation Hub Ireland saw the potential to do something unique that would really improve the lives of their patients and they set about to make that happen.    This targeted educational initiative gives patients control of their disease, by giving them the resources and information they need to ensure that they can continue to benefit from the supportive care of their healthcare professionals after they leave the hospital.”