New app will improve patients quality of life and wellbeing
PLANS for a new phone app for patients with chronic pancreatitis, which will allow them to have more direct and timely access to their medical team in Tallaght University Hospital (TUH), were announced last week.
The new app was announced by TUH and its Interdisciplinary Chronic Pancreatitis Service last Wednesday, March 9.
The app, called Smart CP, along with helping to provide access to the hospital’s medical team, will also provide clear, appropriate, accessible and accurate information for people with chronic pancreatitis.
Chronic pancreatitis is an incurable condition in which the pancreas is inflamed. This leads to constant, unmanageable stomach pain, difficult-to-manage gut symptoms, severe ‘brittle’ diabetes and poor wellbeing for the patient, according to TUH.
A reporting function on the app will allow patients to notify medical staff if their condition deteriorates and they experience worsening malabsorptive symptoms and signs of new diabetes, so that doctors can intervene earlier to achieve better outcomes.
The project will be coordinated by Professor Kevin Conlon, consultant surgeon at TUH and Professor of Surgery at Trinity College Dublin, and Dr Sinead Duggan, a senior research fellow in Trinity College Dublin.
Professor Conlon said: “Our hospital is very well placed to take a lead on the development of this technology, we run the only dedicated chronic pancreatitis service nationally, providing care for over 300 patients.
“This new digital tool will improve patient access to specialist care, no matter where they live in the country.
“Our Clinical Nurse Specialist, Ms Marie Egan is central to the running of our service and will be integral to the roll out of this new technology.
“We are grateful to the Innovation Department of TUH for their support.”
Ireland has among the highest numbers of people suffering from chronic pancreatitis, the most common cause of which is drinking excessively over several years.
The app will allow those with the condition to receive treatment beyond the confines of the hospital walls, with the app meaning the hospital can care for patients within their homes and communities.
Dr Sinead Duggan said: “The overall aim for these patients is to keep them healthier for longer and keep them out of hospital.
“This app will empower patients with chronic pancreatitis thereby improving their quality of life and wellbeing.
“Whilst we have built a research programme over the last decade, traditionally chronic pancreatitis has been very much a neglected condition.
“We envisage that the SmartCP app will represent the lynchpin that enhances the quality of our service and facilitates a shift from illness to wellness, and ultimately towards an integrated care programme for chronic pancreatitis.”
The announcement of the SmartCP app follows a successful application for funding to the Department of Public Enterprise and Reform Innovation Fund.
“I and the team are delighted to receive this funding and the benefits the development of this app will bring to our patients,” added Professor Conlon.