The Royal Free London (RFH) and University College London (UCL) have recruited patients with liver disease in a clinical trial of the CirrhoCare app.
An app designed for mobile phones, it facilities in monitoring patients remotely.
The trial will evaluate the app’s clinical effectiveness in cutting down liver-associated complications that need hospital intervention.
It will also assess the cost-effectiveness, impact on quality of life and disease severity of patients.
More than 200 patients from a minimum of 12 National Health Service (NHS) trusts are randomised to either CirrhoCare or standard care for 12 weeks after discharge.
The CirrhoCare app will notify the physicians when a recently discharged patient shows signs of deteriorating health.
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Furthermore, the doctors can give expert guidance to the patient and aid them in gaining access to community-based care. This approach will help patients regain normal liver function without requiring hospital readmission.
The trial is supported by a £2m grant from the UK National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR).
RFH consultant hepatologist and trial chief investigator professor Raj Mookerjee said: “This novel approach using CirrhoCare seeks to spot signs of early deterioration so that patients needing treatment can receive prompt community-based intervention so that further hospitalisations can ideally be prevented. In those with more severe deterioration, they can be prioritised for early hospital review, to offset emergency presentations.
“If CirrhoCare is shown to be effective, it will help ensure equal access to care. Whatever your postcode, you could have access to this platform and a specialist clinician.”
In a pilot study carried out in 2020 at Royal Free Hospital, CirrhoCare showed to cut down readmissions into the hospital by 38% over an average of ten weeks.
The app also aided in an 80% reduction in the need for hospital resources, such as outpatient fluid drainage.