Virtual care app, MyRenalCare, is helping patients with long-term kidney disease to gain control of their own care and in the process has increased outpatient capacity by 30% according to a trial at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust.

Over the last 12 months more than 1,200 patients with chronic kidney disease, under the care of the Wessex Kidney Centre at Portsmouth Hospitals, have been using the MyRenalCare app.

The trial was part-funded by an NHS X Digital Health Partnership Award, with the charity Kidney Care UK also helping fund the project.

The app supports patients to learn more about their condition, monitor their own health and contact their clinical teams directly whenever they need to.

In addition, the app allows clinicians to remotely monitor their patients and gain access to more patient-inputted data, supporting more informed decision making.

The app also allows for virtual consultations without the need for phone or video calls. With the average virtual consultation taking around five minutes, the app is helping to increase outpatient clinic capacity by as much as 30%. This creates more space for new and urgent patients, and has seen the referral time for new patients drop from four months to just a matter of days.

Potential outpatient cost savings of 25%

Independent health economics conducted by Keith Cooper and David Scott, from the University of Southampton, also shows the use of MyRenalCare can reduce costs of renal outpatient appointments by 25% at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust.

Dr Nick Sangala, kidney consultant at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust and CEO of MyRenalCare, said: “With ever-increasing demand on our services, we wanted to transform the way we deliver our outpatient care.

“The MyRenalCare app has helped more than 1,200 of our patients directly with managing their own condition, and meant that other patients waiting for referrals or urgent appointments are waiting less time, which means more positive health outcomes for all our patients.”

Throughout the project, the behavioural change factors of moving both patients and staff to a virtual care setting were studied as part of the SIGHT (Supporting Innovation and Growth in Healthcare Technologies) programme.

The SIGHT programme was led by the University of Portsmouth in conjunction with Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust and the Wessex CRN.

Dr Phil Jewell, SIGHT CEO, said: “It is incredibly exciting to see the positive difference the MyRenal Care app has had on patients and clinicians alike. It demonstrates the importance of collaboration and bringing together researchers, clinicians and highly innovative SMEs to develop next generation technologies for improving healthcare.

“The health tech industry is of vital importance to both the local and national economy and it is our ambition to support companies like MyRenalCare in order to achieve greater impact on wellbeing and the lives of patients.”