A study of the Wellinks virtual COPD management solution found that older adults with COPD were highly engaged and satisfied with the mobile app, according to research published in JMIR Formative Research.

These findings are significant as COPD is the third leading cause of death by disease in the United States and the fifth most costly chronic condition, with an estimated US $49 billion spent annually. The results from this study suggest that virtual COPD solutions including Wellinks present an effective and engaging way to help older adults and those living with severe COPD manage their respiratory conditions.

“We believe that integrating software, devices, and human-powered virtual care into one solution can play an important role in successful COPD management,” said Alex Waldron, CEO of Wellinks. “These findings validate our approach and signal that interconnected health tools can successfully engage and delight patients, even those who are often assumed to be on the other side of the ‘digital divide.’ We’re now building from this foundation by simultaneously conducting additional clinical research, furthering product development, and bringing Wellinks to market.”

For the 8-week study, participants each received access to the Wellinks mobile app, which automatically recorded health data from devices, including a connected pulse oximeter and spirometer, over 8 weeks. The average participant was 80 years, and more than half of the participants had severe COPD. All participants achieved the weekly engagement goal of one pulse oximetry reading per week, and most patients met the goal of one spirometry reading per week. On average, patients entered their medication use 9 times per week and symptoms at least once per week.

Importantly, 94% of participants either agreed or strongly agreed that the Wellinks app was easy to use, and 81% said that it was valuable for managing their COPD. Overall, the tools received a net promoter score of 59, which indicates a very high level of patient satisfaction.

“Healthcare is experiencing a major revolution in the care of patients with chronic disease through the introduction of mobile health apps and virtually enabled care. For COPD patients, who have unique needs and challenges, it is essential to properly test and validate these new resources,” said Dr Brian Gelbman, the study’s principal investigator and associate clinical professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and New York Presbyterian Hospital. “It’s exciting to see this population of chronically ill patients successfully engage with multiple devices tied to one common mobile app capable of synthesizing and relaying the data to the physician and care team.” 

This announcement comes on the heels of Wellinks announcing a US $25 million funding round led by Morningside Ventures. The funding will support the development of additional clinical research studies, similar to the recently announced ASPIRE study in collaboration with the COPD Foundation, which examines both the clinical and economic outcomes of the virtual-first solution.