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      Integrating a tailored e-health self-management application for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients into primary care: a pilot study

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          There is no author summary for this article yet. Authors can add summaries to their articles on ScienceOpen to make them more accessible to a non-specialist audience.

          Abstract

          Background

          Changes in reimbursement have been compelling for Dutch primary care practices to apply a disease management approach for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This approach includes individual patient consultations with a practice nurse, who coaches patients in COPD management. The aim of this study was to gauge the feasibility of adding a web-based patient self-management support application, by assessing patients’ self-management, patients’ health status, the impact on the organization of care, and the level of application use and appreciation.

          Methods

          The study employed a mixed methods design. Six practice nurses recruited COPD patients during a consultation. The e-Health application included a questionnaire that captured information on demographics, self-management related behaviors (smoking cessation, physical activity and medication adherence) and their determinants, and nurse recommendations. The application provided tailored feedback messages to patients and provided the nurse with reports. Data were collected through questionnaires and medical record abstractions at baseline and one year later. Semi-structured interviews with patients and nurses were conducted. Descriptive statistics were calculated for quantitative data and content analysis was used to analyze the qualitative data.

          Results

          Eleven patients, recruited by three nurses, used the application 1 to 7 times (median 4). Most patients thought that the application supported self-management, but their interest diminished after multiple uses. Impact on patients’ health could not be determined due to the small sample size. Nurses reported benefits for the organization of care and made suggestions to optimize the use of the reports.

          Conclusion

          Results suggest that it is possible to integrate a web-based COPD self-management application into the current primary care disease management process. The pilot study also revealed opportunities to improve the application and reports, in order to increase technology use and appreciation.

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          Most cited references 43

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          Global strategy for the diagnosis, management, and prevention of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: GOLD executive summary.

          Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) remains a major public health problem. It is the fourth leading cause of chronic morbidity and mortality in the United States, and is projected to rank fifth in 2020 in burden of disease worldwide, according to a study published by the World Bank/World Health Organization. Yet, COPD remains relatively unknown or ignored by the public as well as public health and government officials. In 1998, in an effort to bring more attention to COPD, its management, and its prevention, a committed group of scientists encouraged the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the World Health Organization to form the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD). Among the important objectives of GOLD are to increase awareness of COPD and to help the millions of people who suffer from this disease and die prematurely of it or its complications. The first step in the GOLD program was to prepare a consensus report, Global Strategy for the Diagnosis, Management, and Prevention of COPD, published in 2001. The present, newly revised document follows the same format as the original consensus report, but has been updated to reflect the many publications on COPD that have appeared. GOLD national leaders, a network of international experts, have initiated investigations of the causes and prevalence of COPD in their countries, and developed innovative approaches for the dissemination and implementation of COPD management guidelines. We appreciate the enormous amount of work the GOLD national leaders have done on behalf of their patients with COPD. Despite the achievements in the 5 years since the GOLD report was originally published, considerable additional work is ahead of us if we are to control this major public health problem. The GOLD initiative will continue to bring COPD to the attention of governments, public health officials, health care workers, and the general public, but a concerted effort by all involved in health care will be necessary.
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            The Law of Attrition

            In an ongoing effort of this Journal to develop and further the theories, models, and best practices around eHealth research, this paper argues for the need for a “science of attrition”, that is, a need to develop models for discontinuation of eHealth applications and the related phenomenon of participants dropping out of eHealth trials. What I call “law of attrition” here is the observation that in any eHealth trial a substantial proportion of users drop out before completion or stop using the appplication. This feature of eHealth trials is a distinct characteristic compared to, for example, drug trials. The traditional clinical trial and evidence-based medicine paradigm stipulates that high dropout rates make trials less believable. Consequently eHealth researchers tend to gloss over high dropout rates, or not to publish their study results at all, as they see their studies as failures. However, for many eHealth trials, in particular those conducted on the Internet and in particular with self-help applications, high dropout rates may be a natural and typical feature. Usage metrics and determinants of attrition should be highlighted, measured, analyzed, and discussed. This also includes analyzing and reporting the characteristics of the subpopulation for which the application eventually “works”, ie, those who stay in the trial and use it. For the question of what works and what does not, such attrition measures are as important to report as pure efficacy measures from intention-to-treat (ITT) analyses. In cases of high dropout rates efficacy measures underestimate the impact of an application on a population which continues to use it. Methods of analyzing attrition curves can be drawn from survival analysis methods, eg, the Kaplan-Meier analysis and proportional hazards regression analysis (Cox model). Measures to be reported include the relative risk of dropping out or of stopping the use of an application, as well as a “usage half-life”, and models reporting demographic and other factors predicting usage discontinuation in a population. Differential dropout or usage rates between two interventions could be a standard metric for the “usability efficacy” of a system. A “run-in and withdrawal” trial design is suggested as a methodological innovation for Internet-based trials with a high number of initial dropouts/nonusers and a stable group of hardcore users.
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              Stages and processes of self-change of smoking: toward an integrative model of change.

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                BMC Fam Pract
                BMC Fam Pract
                BMC Family Practice
                BioMed Central
                1471-2296
                2014
                8 January 2014
                : 15
                : 4
                Affiliations
                [1 ]CAPHRI, Department of Family Medicine, Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht, Netherlands
                [2 ]Centre of Research on Autonomy and Participation of Persons with a Chronic Illness, Faculty of Health and Care, Zuyd University of Applied Sciences, Heerlen, Netherlands
                [3 ]Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, United States of America
                [4 ]CAPHRI, Department of Health Promotion, Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht, Netherlands
                Article
                1471-2296-15-4
                10.1186/1471-2296-15-4
                3907149
                24400676
                Copyright © 2014 Voncken-Brewster et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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                Research Article

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