Sheffield investigators

Professor Mark Hawley

Sheffield researchers

Claire Bentley

Dr Stephen Potter

Lauren Powell


NHS (Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster)

British Lung Foundation

Breathe Easy support groups



About the project

The team have developed a smartphone app to help people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to increase, or at least maintain, their physical activity levels.

The app helps the person with COPD to set physical activity goals, monitors their physical activity (in conjunction with a Fitbit®), and provides feedback on that person's progress towards achieving their goals. The app is designed to be used as part of pulmonary rehabilitation, an NHS service which aims to help people with COPD to self-manage their condition.

The app was developed based on the views of people with COPD, their family members, and healthcare professionals (HCPs) working with COPD. In these interviews we explored self-management of COPD and the potential of technology to help with this.

Physical activity emerged as a key aspect of COPD self-management because it has great benefits for health and quality of life in COPD, but is also very difficult to take part in (eg due to increased breathlessness). Therefore physical activity was chosen as the main focus for the app. After early versions of the app were created, people with COPD helped us test and further develop the app.

We are currently carrying out a feasibility study with pulmonary rehabilitation teams across South Yorkshire to determine whether the app is acceptable to patients and HCPs, and whether it is feasible to use the app as a way to maintain the benefits of pulmonary rehabilitation and exercise in the long-term.

The SMART COPD project was based on earlier work investigating the use of novel technologies to help people self-manage their long-term health conditions.

This webpage presents independent research by the National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care Yorkshire and Humber (NIHR CLAHRC YH). The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors, and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health.