Patients with COPD who used a digital health application to report symptoms and receive treatment recommendations experienced less severe COPD exacerbations, according to a new study.
The Pennsylvania Study of COPD Exacerbations (PA-SCOPE), led by Gerard J. Criner, MD, FACP, FACCP, Founding Chair of the new Department of Thoracic Medicine and Surgery at Temple University School of Medicine, and Director of the Temple Lung Center, revealed that COPD patients who used a digital health application to report their daily symptoms and received same-day treatment recommendations from their health care provider experienced fewer and less severe COPD exacerbation symptoms, which led to an improvement in daily symptom control, lung function, and activity status.
The digital health application allows COPD patients to report their respiratory symptoms and peak expiratory flow measurements, which were assessed by a computer algorithm and compared with initial values to achieve a symptom deviation score – a measure of how serious the symptoms are relative to the patients’ baseline metrics. Scores in excess of a predetermined threshold were reviewed by a nurse and referred to a physician who prescribed treatment. The application allowed health care providers to initiate treatments that were optimized for individual patients’ symptoms on the same day that COPD symptoms worsened.
“Previous studies at other sites have questioned the efficacy of various telemedicine solutions in COPD patients, but those studies have not used a solution that enables same-day treatment in response to worsening patient symptoms,” says Dr. Criner, who served as the principal investigator of the study. “We have been studying digital health solutions for COPD symptom management for over a decade and are pleased that the improvements we have seen in our patients in response to early identification and intervention has been documented in this clinical study.”