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Innovation award for iPhone app that helps people manage chronic condition

An iPhone application developed to help patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME (CFS/ME) has won a top award for its use of innovative technology.
ActiveME©, developed by experts in the field of CFS/ME, was designed to assist patients in keeping track of their activity levels, a key part of rehabilitation and self-managing this chronic condition. The interactive patient-centred tool won the 'Innovation in Technology' category at the NHS Innovations North Bright Ideas awards ceremony on 29 November 2012.

Patients with CFS/ME suffer from chronic exhaustion that is not helped by sleep or rest and affects all aspects of their lives. On a bad day, even tasks that many might take for granted such as brushing hair or watching TV can be extremely difficult and on a good day a person may do too much and then pay for it for the next few days. This is known as 'boom and bust' energy cycles.

NICE guidance for the condition, which affects approximately one per cent of adults and children in the UK, recommends 'an individualised, person-centred programme' for CFS/ME patients.

Dr Esther Crawley from the University of Bristol's School of Social and Community Medicine along with colleagues from the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD) NHS Foundation Trust, the Northern CFS/ME Clinical Network and Indigo Mulitimedia, developed the app to help patients in these 'boom and bust' energy cycles monitor patterns of activity which can be key to their recovery.

The team realised that by adapting activity monitoring charts to smart phone technology could help patients monitor and track their activity and energy levels. The app also allows for the data to be recorded and provide the person with a visual representation of their information.

Dr Esther Crawley, consultant paediatrician and service lead for the children and young people's CFS/ME service at the RNHRD said: "We are thrilled to have won this award which is testament to all the team's hard work developing the resource. To date, over 1,000 people have downloaded the tool and we have received lots of positive feedback which is helping towards the app's ongoing development."

The application is available to download from the Apple App store under utilities.

Source: Bristol University