Background: In the Netherlands, almost 600,000 people had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in 2017. This decreases quality of life for many and each year, COPD leads to approximately 6,800 deaths and about one billion health care expenditures. It is expected that eHealth may improve access to care and reduce costs. However, there is no conclusive scientific evidence available of the added value of eHealth in COPD care. We conducted a scoping review into the use of eHealth in Dutch COPD care. The aim of the research was to provide an overview of all eHealth applications used in Dutch COPD care and to assess these applications on a number of relevant criteria.
Methods: In order to make an overview of all eHealth applications aimed at COPD patients in the Netherlands, literature was searched in the electronic databases PubMed and Google Scholar. In addition, Dutch health care websites were searched for applications that have been evaluated for effectiveness and reliability. The identified eHealth applications were assessed according to five relevant quality criteria, eg, whether research has been conducted on the effectiveness.
Results: Thirteen health care programs and patient platforms in COPD care have been found that use eHealth. In addition, 13 self-care and informative websites and 15 mobile apps were found that are available to citizens and patients. Five of 13 care programs and patient platforms were found to be effective in improving quality of life or reducing hospital admissions in small pilot studies. The effectiveness of these and the other eHealth applications should be established in larger studies in the future.
Discussion: More research into the effectiveness of eHealth applications for COPD patients is needed. We recommend to develop a nationwide open source platform where well-evaluated eHealth applications can be showcased for patients and health care providers to improve COPD care.