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New mobile app could transform care for lung surgery patients

screengrab 1A mobile app developed by researchers at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust could transform how lung surgery patients receive their rehabilitation after surgery.

The Fit for Surgery app developed by the Thoracic surgery research team at the Trust, which runs Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull Hospitals, will allow patients to access the award-winning Rehabilitation for Operated Lung Cancer (ROC) programme from the comfort of their own home without the need for a hospital visit.

The ROC programme was developed at the Trust and has been widely adopted across the UK. The outpatient programme consists of exercise training, self-management education, nutritional and smoking cessation support.

Mr Babu Naidu (pictured below), consultant thoracic surgeon at Heartlands Hospital which is home to the regional thoracic surgery unit covering a catchment area of more than 6 million people, explained why the app has been developed and what benefits it could bring for patients.

He said: “Research shows that around 15% of the 5,700 patients in the UK that undergo lung resection or removal primarily for the treatment of cancer develop post-operative pulmonary/lung complications (PPC), and once this has developed mortality increases from 0.5% to 12%.

“The ROC programme has demonstrated improvement in complications and hospital readmission but the lack of immediate access to pulmonary rehabilitation programmes across the country has hampered its success, so we identified a need to develop a service that can be delivered immediately at the convenience and control of the patient.

Babu Naidu“Therefore we have developed a new mobile app through which patients can access the rehabilitation wherever they want without having to visit hospital. The app has a Bluetooth-enabled Pulse Oximeter which provides the patient with feedback on their heart rate and oxygen saturation levels before and during exercise which we can then record and monitor. The app also gives us the opportunity to evaluate the programme so we can see how we can further meet the needs of our patients.”

The app has been developed but will be trialled before it is rolled out across the board so the team at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust will be recruiting for 50 patients in the coming weeks to take part in the research project who will be given access to tablet computers to run the app. This has been funded by the Health Foundation.

Mr Naidu added: “Should this prove to be effective it could lead to a national roll-out of this lung surgery rehabilitation programme and define the new gold standard of care, as well as potentially being adopted for other types of surgery as well.”

If you would like to find out more about the app and recruitment for the research please contact Salma Kadiri on 0121 424 1396 or by emailing

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