COPD patients benefit from app, same-day treatment
PHILADELPHIA – Early intervention facilitated by a digital health application provides key benefits for COPD patients, according to the results of a two-year clinical study by Temple University. COPD patients who used an app to report their daily symptoms and received same-day treatment recommendations from their healthcare provider experienced fewer and less severe exacerbation symptoms, leading to an improvement in daily symptom control, lung function and activity status. “Previous studies at other sites have questioned the efficacy of various telemedicine solutions in COPD patients, but those studies have not used a solution that enables same-day treatment in response to worsening patient symptoms,” said Dr. Gerard Criner, founding chairman of the new Department of Thoracic Medicine and Surgery at Temple University School of Medicine, director of the Temple Lung Center and the principal investigator of the study. The app allows COPD patients to report their respiratory symptoms and peak expiratory flow measurements, which are then assessed by a computer algorithm and compared with initial values to achieve a symptom deviation score—a measure of how serious the symptoms are relative to the baseline metrics. Scores in excess of a predetermined threshold are reviewed by a nurse and referred to a physician to prescribe treatment. The technology used in the study is a precursor to a solution currently offered by Temple University spin-off company HE Health Care Solutions.