According to a new study, patients with COPD may benefit from a digital health application.

Researchers from Temple University Health System observed 79 COPD patients who had been hospitalized for COPD exacerbations in the prior 12 months in order to assess the benefits of the telemedicine application. The research team strived to determine if the application for reporting symptoms would be able to reduce barriers between healthcare providers and patients to improve outcomes, according to HCP Live. The patients had been using supplemental oxygen and had received optimal care while hospitalized.

The participants were given devices to use the reporting app and were assigned to either an intervention or control group. The control group received traditional medical care and was told to seek medical care if their symptoms worsened. The intervention group members were scored by an algorithm in the app that provided an “alert” if the score was one or more points higher than the original score. Subsequently, these patients were reviewed by a nurse and referred to a physician who then prescribed the proper treatment.

The results of the study showed that of the 39 patients in the intervention group, daily peak flow and dyspnea scores improved. However, scoring in those categories did not improve in the control group. In addition, the researchers determined there were no differences between the two groups in hospitalization or mortality rates and there were also no serious adverse events reported. The HCP Live report notes that the researchers added that there was an “encouraging degree” of reporting compliance by the moderate to severe COPD patients in the intervention group.

“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,” said principal investigator Gerard J. Criner, MD.

Though the cohort of the study was small, the researchers believe that the results point in the right direction for future research, as indicated on the HCP Live report. The team’s future research will be aimed at greater patient cohorts using the telemedicine application.

Source: HCP Live