Two articles recently published online reviewed the use of telemonitoring for the care of COPD patients.
The “Effect of telehealth on quality of life and psychological outcomes over 12 months (Whole Systems Demonstrator telehealth questionnaire study): nested study of patient reported outcomes in a pragmatic, cluster randomised controlled trial” article published in the BMJ, on 26 February 2013, came to the conclusion that “Telehealth did not improve quality of life or psychological outcomes for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, or heart failure over 12 months“.
The InMedica website launched a press release , on 21 January 2013, (see item 10, in the list) announcing that “telehealth is [projected] to reach 1.8 million patients worldwide by 2017, according to The World Market for Telehealth – An Analysis of Demand Dynamics – 2012“. Although not focusing on COPD, the piece promoted telehealth for COPD patients: “The number of telehealth patients with COPD is also projected to grow strongly as telehealth focus continues to expand to respiratory diseases. The successful results of the Whole System Demonstrator (WSD) programme in the U.K. are serving as strong evidence-base for the benefits of telehealth for COPD patients“.
This analysis of the WSD is not in line with the latter as it did not provide “successful results” for COPD patients.
In light of the above, the European COPD Coalition collected literature analysing the use of telemonitoring for COPD patients and their care givers to acquire further knowledge on the subject matter. The non-exhaustive list includes 17 studies/articles published on line, from 2009 onwards and provided by non-partisan sources, mainly the well-established medical journals. It presents the main conclusions of each study. There is no ranking in the presentation of the articles and elements such as funding sources for the authors, or their declaration of conflict of interests have not been reviewed.
Also included in the list is the mention of RENEWINGHEALTH, REgioNs of Europe WorkINg toGether for HEALTH, a European project, partialy funded under the ICT Policy Support Programme, by the European Community, and aiming at implementing large-scale real-life test beds for the validation and evaluation of innovative telemedicine services by means of a patient-centred approach and a common rigorous assessment methodology. Its “cluster”4 evaluates short-term follow up after hospital discharge in COPD.
The general conclusion is that telemonitoring for COPD patients bares some promises of improvement of care but its full potential benefits have not been proven yet and further improvements and research are needed before asserting that telemonitoring is a real benefit to the quality of care, both for COPD patients and their care givers.
ECC welcomes further research studies to be included in this list, please liaise with ECC (see contact details on home page of this website) to share research and data.