Temple University Health System's study finds that Telemedicine App Eases Symptoms for COPD Patients

Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who used a telemedicine application to report daily symptoms to a provider experienced improved health benefits, according to a study published in the journal Telemedicine and e-Health, Health Data Management reports (Slabodkin, Health Data Management, 9/2).

Study Details

For the two-year study, researchers at Temple University Health System's Lung Center collected data on 79 patients who had been hospitalized for chronic pulmonary disease exacerbation within the past year or were using supplemental oxygen to establish a baseline for each patient's health.

The patients were then divided into two groups:

  • A control group that used standard self-reporting methods for worsening symptoms (Francis et al., Telemedicine and e-Health, 8/10); and
  • An intervention group that used an app to report their respiratory symptoms and peak expiratory flow measurements.

Data from the app were assessed by a computer algorithm and compared with the baseline values to create a symptom deviation score to show when conditions worsened.

On days when symptoms exceeded the baseline by a score of 1 or more, the app issued an alert, to prompt a review with a nurse who would then refer the case to a physician, who would prescribe same-day treatment.

Study Findings

Compared with the control group, the study found patients who received same-day treatment via the app:

  • Had better lung function;
  • Experienced fewer and less severe COPD exacerbation symptoms;
  • Saw improvement in daily symptom control; and
  • Were more active.

The authors said their findings matched their predictions, but they noted that the small sample size meant researchers could not conclusively show a reduction in hospitalization or mortality rates (Health Data Management, 9/2).

Source: iHealthBeat, Thursday, September 3, 2015

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