A pensioner has used his chronic illness to create a digital platform that could save the NHS millions of pounds.
Ian Bond, 73, was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) ten years ago after quitting smoking.
He is one of three million people in the UK with the condition, which costs the NHS £2bn each year.
South Wales-based Bond began keeping a comprehensive diary of ‘wellness points’ to track sleep quality, exercise, breathlessness, coughing, peak flow readings and any medication changes.
This diary meant his doctor appointments became evidence-based and formed the foundation for treatment.
Bond and partner Dave Taylor set up Bond Digital Health Ltd. at the Life Sciences Hub Wales in Cardiff, and worked with local universities to develop the system further.
Bond Digital Health has now developed a range of digital products targeted at individual patients, medical practitioners and clinical developers.
The business has won half a million pounds of commercial contracts in its first six months of trading, including orders for its digital toolkit for clinical devices developed for its ibemapp product.
This digital tool kit allows clinical developers to tailor the smart diary and app platform for other chronic conditions.
The contracts have allowed the company to take on new members of staff and it is now preparing for an investment round of £1m to accelerate the business further.
“The system we have developed allows patients to take responsibility for their own health and take control of their condition, allowing them to have a more constructive dialogue with their doctor, nurse or specialist,” Bond said.
The system has the potential to be of huge benefit to the NHS, giving medical practitioners access to more detailed patient data and consequently delivering more cost-effective and personalised treatments.
When fully implemented it will spot patient “crisis points” before they occur, allowing early intervention and saving the NHS money in emergency hospitalisations, which is very common with lung disease.
Bond Digital Health technical director Taylor said: “The support of the Life Sciences Hub Wales was invaluable. Networking with other Hub members allowed us to make vital collaborations that boosted our visibility and helped turn our idea into a viable business.”
Keir Lewis, professor of respiratory medicine at Swansea University and one of the foremost pulmonary experts in Wales, advised the team on the product’s suitability for the NHS and has since joined the board as a non-executive director.
He said: “This is a remarkable achievement. Ian and Dave have developed a platform that is comprehensive and yet simple to use.
“Not only does it have a range of uses in treating COPD, but it is flexible enough to evolve to help treat other conditions and diseases.
“Most importantly, this is something patients and doctors can use in the real world.”