Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton

University of Southampton wins major Artificial Intelligence award to transform lives of COPD patients

Published: 12 July 2021

A consortium led by the University of Southampton has won an Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Health and Care Award to fund the creation of an AI-enhanced digital health platform for personalised care of Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) called mySmartCOPD.

COPD is a common disease and is predicted to become the third leading cause of death by 2030. A key characteristic of COPD is acute worsening of symptoms called ‘exacerbation events’ which are detrimental to health and often lead to hospitalization. Avoiding exacerbation events reduces lung function deterioration and increases quality of life.

Partnering with my mhealth Ltd, the University of Bath and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, mySmartCOPD will provide a new way of managing COPD by using computers to predict exacerbation events several days in advance.

Professor Michael Boniface from the University of Southampton IT Innovation Centre, and mySmartCOPD project lead, says

“Our research has demonstrated that computers can learn when patients were likely to exacerbate from reported symptoms, lifestyle, and demographic data. By providing an early warning, people living with COPD have an opportunity to take action to prevent an exacerbation or lessen severity. Consequently, we expect that patients will have more control over their condition, medication will be used more appropriately, and NHS resources will be used more efficiently.”

mySmartCOPD will enhance the existing myCOPD self-management application from my mhealth Ltd, which is currently used by many NHS providers and patients.  A new clinical COPD management model will be developed using AI for early personalised prediction of exacerbation and intervention. Personalised alerts will be sent to patients and clinicians to work towards preventing an exacerbation. 

Co-founder of my mhealth Ltd and Professor of Respiratory Medicine, Professor Tom Wilkinson said:

“This award recognises the cutting-edge expertise of mymhealth and the University of Southampton and will enable us to develop predictive and personalised tools which will transform outcomes for some of our most vulnerable patients. It is vital that the revolution in digital healthcare is harnessed for all and this is the next chapter in the success of myCOPD as one of the first nationally scaled digital solutions in the NHS.”

The AI in Health and Care Award, funded by the NHS, is increasing the impact of AI systems in helping to solve both clinical and operational challenges across the health service, including reducing waiting times, improving early diagnosis and saving staff time. It will speed up the most promising technologies through the regulatory process by building an evidence base to demonstrate the effectiveness and safety of artificial intelligence in health and care.

 Sir Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said:

“Through our NHS AI Lab we're now backing a new generation of ground-breaking but practical solutions to some of the biggest challenges in healthcare.

Matthew Gould, chief executive of NHSX, said:

“These trials are making the AI revolution a reality for patients.

Privacy Settings