PATIENTS with long-term heart conditions can monitor and manage themselves at home with a new digital app to reduce their chances of having a stroke.

The technology is for people with atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat) at risk from stroke, who are prescribed the drug warfarin to prevent blood clotting.

Currently, they have to attend medical clinics on a regular basis for blood tests to determine their correct dosage, but now a new digital health service will allow them to do this.

And the new technology has gone live and is set to be rolled out across East Lancashire in the coming months.

It will see patients test themselves at home and send in their results via a bluetooth mobile app, secure web portal or automated telephone call to receive their dosage information which means they can save time attending clinic appointments.

Under the services, patients are supplied with a handheld device to test their blood’s international normalised ratio (INR) at home, which measures how long it takes blood to form a clot

Then they prick their finger using a special pen with a needle and put a drop of blood on a strip which is then inserted into the meter.

Patients are then asked a series of automated health questions as they send their readings to their clinics for analysis either by app or telephone.

This then yields the correct dosage information and clinicians approve the process before it is sent back to patients.

Inhealthcare, the UK digital health specialist, is supplying its technology for the service, which is being delivered by staff from the Royal Blackburn Hospital and Burnley General Teaching Hospital.

The service will be rolled out more widely in East Lancashire in the coming months.

Patient Yvonne Egan, from Blackburn, who was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (AF) in 2012, welcomed the introduction of the new app.

She said: “I think it’s going to be great once I’ve practised it a few times.

"It will save me the hassle of taking time off work to visit the clinic.”

Bryn Sage, chief executive at Inhealthcare, said the technology allows people with long-term heart conditions to stay on top of their health without the ‘hassle of inconvenient and time-consuming hospital or clinic appointments.’

He said: “This is exactly the sort of service that can reduce pressure on busy NHS clinics and allow staff to spend more time with patients who need care the most.

“We have rolled out similar services across England and are very pleased to see self-testing become accepted as a preference.

“We are looking forward to helping patients and the health service in East Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen.

“In the last 12 months, we have enabled 78,000 digital consultations, connecting patients to clinicians remotely, freeing up much-needed capacity in the NHS.”

In East Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen, around 6,300 people are being treated for AF.

A further 2,765 people are estimated to have the condition and are currently untreated because they are unaware they have the condition.