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      Perceptions of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and their health care providers towards using mHealth for self-management of exacerbations: a qualitative study

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          Self-management of exacerbations in COPD patients is important to reduce exacerbation impact. There is a need for more comprehensive and individualized interventions to improve exacerbation-related self-management behavior. The use of mobile health (mHealth) could help to achieve a wide variety of behavioral goals. Understanding of patients and health care providers perspectives towards using mHealth in promoting self-management will greatly enhance the development of solutions with optimal usability and feasibility. Therefore, the aim of this study was to explore perceptions of COPD patients and their health care providers towards using mHealth for self-management of exacerbations.


          A qualitative study using focus group interviews with COPD patients ( n = 13) and health care providers (HCPs) ( n = 6) was performed to explore perceptions towards using mHealth to support exacerbation-related self-management. Data were analyzed by a thematic analysis.


          COPD patients and HCPs perceived mostly similar benefits and barriers of using mHealth for exacerbation-related self-management. These perceived benefits and barriers seem to be important drivers in the willingness to use mHealth. Both patients and HCPs strengthen the need for a multi-component and tailored mHealth intervention that improves patients’ exacerbation-related self-management by determining their health status and providing adequate information, decision support and feedback on self-management behavior. Most importantly, patients and HCPs considered an mHealth intervention as support to improve self-management and emphasized that it should never replace patients’ own feelings nor undermine their own decisions. In addition, the intervention should be complementary to regular contact with HCPs, as personal contact with a HCP was considered to be very important. To optimize engagement with mHealth, patients should have a positive attitude toward using mHealth and an mHealth intervention should be attractive, rewarding and safe.


          This study provided insight into perceptions of COPD patients and their HCPs towards using mHealth for self-management of exacerbations. This study points out that future mHealth interventions should focus on developing self-management skills over time by providing adequate information, decision support and feedback on self-management behavior and that mHealth should complement regular care. To optimize engagement, mHealth interventions should be attractive, rewarding, safe and tailored to the patient needs.

          Electronic supplementary material

          The online version of this article (10.1186/s12913-018-3545-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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          Most cited references 13

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          Glasgow supported self-management trial (GSuST) for patients with moderate to severe COPD: randomised controlled trial

          Objective To determine whether supported self management in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can reduce hospital readmissions in the United Kingdom. Design Randomised controlled trial. Setting Community based intervention in the west of Scotland. Participants Patients admitted to hospital with acute exacerbation of COPD. Intervention Participants in the intervention group were trained to detect and treat exacerbations promptly, with ongoing support for 12 months. Main outcome measures The primary outcome was hospital readmissions and deaths due to COPD assessed by record linkage of Scottish Morbidity Records; health related quality of life measures were secondary outcomes. Results 464 patients were randomised, stratified by age, sex, per cent predicted forced expiratory volume in 1 second, recent pulmonary rehabilitation attendance, smoking status, deprivation category of area of residence, and previous COPD admissions. No difference was found in COPD admissions or death (111/232 (48%) v 108/232 (47%); hazard ratio 1.05, 95% confidence interval 0.80 to 1.38). Return of health related quality of life questionnaires was poor (n=265; 57%), so that no useful conclusions could be made from these data. Pre-planned subgroup analysis showed no differential benefit in the primary outcome relating to disease severity or demographic variables. In an exploratory analysis, 42% (75/150) of patients in the intervention group were classified as successful self managers at study exit, from review of appropriateness of use of self management therapy. Predictors of successful self management on stepwise regression were younger age (P=0.012) and living with others (P=0.010). COPD readmissions/deaths were reduced in successful self managers compared with unsuccessful self managers (20/75 (27%) v 51/105 (49%); hazard ratio 0.44, 0.25 to 0.76; P=0.003). Conclusion Supported self management had no effect on time to first readmission or death with COPD. Exploratory subgroup analysis identified a minority of participants who learnt to self manage; this group had a significantly reduced risk of COPD readmission, were younger, and were more likely to be living with others. Trial registration Clinical trials NCT 00706303.
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            The economic impact of exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and exacerbation definition: a review.

            Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) poses a significant economic burden on society, and a substantial portion is related to exacerbations of COPD. A literature review of the direct and indirect costs of COPD exacerbations was performed. A systematic search of the MEDLINE database from 1998-2008 was conducted and supplemented with searches of conference abstracts and article bibliographies. Articles that contained cost data related to COPD exacerbations were selected for in-depth review. Eleven studies examining healthcare costs associated with COPD exacerbations were identified. The estimated costs of exacerbations vary widely across studies: $88 to $7,757 per exacerbation (2007 US dollars). The largest component of the total costs of COPD exacerbations was typically hospitalization. Costs were highly correlated with exacerbation severity. Indirect costs have rarely been measured. The wide variability in the cost estimates reflected cross-study differences in geographic locations, treatment patterns, and patient populations. Important methodological differences also existed across studies. Researchers have used different definitions of exacerbation (e.g., symptom- versus event-based definitions), different tools to identify and measure exacerbations, and different classification systems to define exacerbation severity. Unreported exacerbations are common and may influence the long-term costs of exacerbations. Measurement of indirect costs will provide a more comprehensive picture of the burden of exacerbations. Evaluation of pharmacoeconomic analyses would be aided by the use of more consistent and comprehensive approaches to defining and measuring COPD exacerbations.
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              Smartphone interventions for long-term health management of chronic diseases: an integrative review.

              Long-term health management is challenging for the rapidly growing number of patients with chronic diseases. Smartphone interventions offer promising solutions. This article presents features of smartphone interventions for long-term chronic condition management, illustrating how these applications benefit patients with chronic diseases.

                Author and article information

                +31 6 38763949 , yvonne.korpershoek@hu.nl
                BMC Health Serv Res
                BMC Health Serv Res
                BMC Health Services Research
                BioMed Central (London )
                4 October 2018
                4 October 2018
                : 18
                [1 ]ISNI 0000 0001 0824 9343, GRID grid.438049.2, Research Group Chronic Illnesses, , University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, ; Heidelberglaan 7, 3584 CS, Utrecht, PO Box 12011-3501, AA The Netherlands
                [2 ]ISNI 0000000090126352, GRID grid.7692.a, Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, , University Medical Center Utrecht, ; Utrecht, The Netherlands
                [3 ]ISNI 0000000090126352, GRID grid.7692.a, Cancer Center, University Medical Center Utrecht, ; Utrecht, The Netherlands
                [4 ]ISNI 0000000090126352, GRID grid.7692.a, Education Center, UMC Utrecht Academy, , University Medical Center Utrecht, ; Utrecht, The Netherlands
                © The Author(s). 2018

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. 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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