A free-to-download app is helping people self manage long-term conditions.
ELFy, developed by Professor John Wass, Simon Carbery and Sarah Spain, is a reminder and support app for asthma, epilepsy and mental health.
The app is 'entry level' and recognises that taking medication daily is never as easy as it sounds.
Initial funding was provided by Tower Hamlets Together.
Two early variants, one for asthma and one for epilepsy, were trialled in Tower Hamlets with the help of a community research team comprising Black, Asian and minority ethnic women.
Sarah said the results were 'very encouraging' – not just improved symptoms and better adherence but also reduced trips to A&E and anecdotal reports of lowered stress levels.
A further grant from Tower Hamlets Together allowed development of a mental health variant with the help of a mental health consortium.
At that point the ELFy team decided to create a single envelope containing all three variants, to cater for co- and multi-morbidities.
"We know that the practical aspects of the app appeal to people who are not necessarily engaged with their health and our aim has always been to reach right out across the social spectrum," said Sarah.
"Given the impact of COVID-19 on BAME communities in particular and also the increased risk to those with underlying conditions – not mutually exclusive, of course – we are trying to raise awareness of the app, to encourage take-up."
ELFY has been awarded a Quality badge from ORCHA.
Dr Nikki Newhouse, Centre for Evidence Based Medicine, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Services, University of Oxford, also recently reviewed the app and said: "ELFy is a great example of an app that delivers exactly what it claims to: practical tools to support medication taking and symptom monitoring, clear guidance and exceptional usability.
"The app looks good, is intuitive to use and is genuinely useful – clearly developed with the user in mind."
Find out more
ELFy is free to download from www.elfy-apps.com. The app is available for iOS and Android.