South West tech firm gives New Zealanders easier access to healthcare

my mhealth, a company which builds digital therapeutics for patients with a range of chronic conditions, has been supported by The Department for International Trade (DIT) as part of the drive to level up businesses in the region, to successfully export to New Zealand with its NHS-approved COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) app, myCOPD.

my mhealth, based in Bournemouth, was established in 2012 to give patients with a range of chronic conditions access to healthcare online and therefore be able to easily access crucial information about their health and the services available to them.

COPD is a major respiratory disease in New Zealand. An estimated 15% (200,000) of all New Zealanders aged over 45 years suffer from the condition and is the fourth leading cause of death in the region behind cancer, heart disease and stroke.

The rollout is initially focused on the Māori and Pasifika population, making it the first NHS approved digital self-management programme for COPD to be available in a clinical setting beyond British borders.

The company expects to increase export sales to New Zealand over the next two years as it looks to expand on commercial activity beyond UK borders.

The news comes as New Zealand and the UK have agreed a free trade deal which will create new opportunities for UK businesses. UK-New Zealand trade was worth £2.3bn in 2020, with the South West exporting £43m of goods to the market.

Ian Thompson, Global Digital Transformation Specialist at the company said: “The app, my COPD, is beneficial to COPD services in New Zealand as their patients live across different settings including islands away from the mainland. Being able to bring patients digital access to health care services will help to revolutionise how these populations can access clinical expertise.”

Paul Shand, Head of Trade for DIT in the South West said: “There has never been a more opportune time to explore new markets and take advantage of the strong demand for British goods and services to help boost sales.  I am delighted to see my mhealth thriving through providing access to digital healthcare for people who need it most. The UK’s historic free trade deal with New Zealand will boost British exports and I look forward to seeing more South West businesses break into and thrive in this exciting market as tariffs are removed and red tape slashed.”