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      Effect of tele health care on exacerbations and hospital admissions in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a randomized clinical trial

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          Background and objective

          Tele monitoring (TM) of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has gained much interest, but studies have produced conflicting results. Our aim was to investigate the effect of TM with the option of video consultations on exacerbations and hospital admissions in patients with severe COPD.

          Materials and methods

          Patients with severe COPD at high risk of exacerbations were eligible for the study. Of 560 eligible patients identified, 279 (50%) declined to participate. The remaining patients were equally randomized to either TM (n=141) or usual care (n=140) for the 6-month study period. TM comprised recording of symptoms, saturation, spirometry, and weekly video consultations. Algorithms generated alerts if readings breached thresholds. Both groups received standard care. The primary outcome was number of hospital admissions for exacerbation of COPD during the study period.


          Most of the enrolled patients had severe COPD (forced expiratory volume in 1 second <50%pred in 86% and ≥hospital admission for COPD in the year prior to enrollment in 45%, respectively, of the patients). No difference in drop-out rate and mortality was found between the groups. With regard to the primary outcome, no significant difference was found in hospital admissions for COPD between the groups ( P=0.74), and likewise, no difference was found in time to first admission or all-cause hospital admissions. Compared with the control group, TM group patients had more moderate exacerbations (ie, treated with antibiotics/corticosteroid, but not requiring hospital admission; P<0.001), whereas the control group had more visits to outpatient clinics ( P<0.001).


          Our study of patients with severe COPD showed that TM including video consultations as add-on to standard care did not reduce hospital admissions for exacerbated COPD, but TM may be an alternative to visits at respiratory outpatient clinics. Further studies are needed to establish the optimal role of TM in the management of severe COPD.

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          Most cited references 22

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          Reduction of hospital utilization in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a disease-specific self-management intervention.

          Self-management interventions improve various outcomes for many chronic diseases. The definite place of self-management in the care of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has not been established. We evaluated the effect of a continuum of self-management, specific to COPD, on the use of hospital services and health status among patients with moderate to severe disease. A multicenter, randomized clinical trial was carried out in 7 hospitals from February 1998 to July 1999. All patients had advanced COPD with at least 1 hospitalization for exacerbation in the previous year. Patients were assigned to a self-management program or to usual care. The intervention consisted of a comprehensive patient education program administered through weekly visits by trained health professionals over a 2-month period with monthly telephone follow-up. Over 12 months, data were collected regarding the primary outcome and number of hospitalizations; secondary outcomes included emergency visits and patient health status. Hospital admissions for exacerbation of COPD were reduced by 39.8% in the intervention group compared with the usual care group (P =.01), and admissions for other health problems were reduced by 57.1% (P =.01). Emergency department visits were reduced by 41.0% (P =.02) and unscheduled physician visits by 58.9% (P =.003). Greater improvements in the impact subscale and total quality-of-life scores were observed in the intervention group at 4 months, although some of the benefits were maintained only for the impact score at 12 months. A continuum of self-management for COPD patients provided by a trained health professional can significantly reduce the utilization of health care services and improve health status. This approach of care can be implemented within normal practice.
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            The significance of respiratory symptoms and the diagnosis of chronic bronchitis in a working population.

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              A comprehensive care management program to prevent chronic obstructive pulmonary disease hospitalizations: a randomized, controlled trial.

              Improving a patient's ability to self-monitor and manage changes in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) symptoms may improve outcomes. To determine the efficacy of a comprehensive care management program (CCMP) in reducing the risk for COPD hospitalization. A randomized, controlled trial comparing CCMP with guideline-based usual care. ( registration number: NCT00395083) SETTING: 20 Veterans Affairs hospital-based outpatient clinics. Patients hospitalized for COPD in the past year. The CCMP included COPD education during 4 individual sessions and 1 group session, an action plan for identification and treatment of exacerbations, and scheduled proactive telephone calls for case management. Patients in both the intervention and usual care groups received a COPD informational booklet; their primary care providers received a copy of COPD guidelines and were advised to manage their patients according to these guidelines. Patients were randomly assigned, stratifying by site based on random, permuted blocks of variable size. The primary outcome was time to first COPD hospitalization. Staff blinded to study group performed telephone-based assessment of COPD exacerbations and hospitalizations, and all hospitalizations were blindly adjudicated. Secondary outcomes included non-COPD health care use, all-cause mortality, health-related quality of life, patient satisfaction, disease knowledge, and self-efficacy. Of the eligible patients, 209 were randomly assigned to the intervention group and 217 to the usual care group. Citing serious safety concerns, the data monitoring committee terminated the intervention before the trial's planned completion after 426 (44%) of the planned total of 960 patients were enrolled. Mean follow-up was 250 days. When the study was stopped, the 1-year cumulative incidence of COPD-related hospitalization was 27% in the intervention group and 24% in the usual care group (hazard ratio, 1.13 [95% CI, 0.70 to 1.80]; P= 0.62). There were 28 deaths from all causes in the intervention group versus 10 in the usual care group (hazard ratio, 3.00 [CI, 1.46 to 6.17]; P= 0.003). Cause could be assigned in 27 (71%) deaths. Deaths due to COPD accounted for the largest difference: 10 in the intervention group versus 3 in the usual care group (hazard ratio, 3.60 [CI, 0.99 to 13.08]; P= 0.053). Available data could not fully explain the excess mortality in the intervention group. Ability to assess the quality of the educational sessions provided by the case managers was limited. A CCMP in patients with severe COPD had not decreased COPD-related hospitalizations when the trial was stopped prematurely. The CCMP was associated with unanticipated excess mortality, results that differ markedly from similar previous trials. A data monitoring committee should be considered in the design of clinical trials involving behavioral interventions.

                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of COPD
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                Dove Medical Press
                03 September 2015
                : 10
                : 1801-1808
                [1 ]Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Hvidovre Hospital, Hvidovre, Denmark
                [2 ]Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Copenhagen, Herlev, Denmark
                [3 ]Pulmonary Unit, Department of Internal Medicine, Herlev Hospital, Herlev, Denmark
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Charlotte Suppli Ulrik, Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Hvidovre Hospital, Kettegård Alle 30, DK-2650 Hvidovre, Denmark, Tel +45 3862 6089, Email csulrik@
                © 2015 Ringbæk et al. This work is published by Dove Medical Press Limited, and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License

                The full terms of the License are available at Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Original Research

                Respiratory medicine

                admissions, copd, exacerbations, video consultations, tele health care


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