Major medical providers are helping COPD patients survive and thrive through telemonitoring
More than 15 million Americans have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and every four minutes, someone dies of COPD. November is National COPD Awareness Month, and thus an opportune time to review innovative options for helping people understand and monitor the disease.
Remote patient monitoring, also known as telemonitoring or telehealth, is increasingly playing a positive role in the detection and treatment of COPD. Here are some of the biggest benefits remote patient monitoring has brought so far.
Improved patient outcomes
AMC Health has been in the news for its success with improving patient outcomes through remote monitoring. Rhode Island patients with congestive heart failure and COPD received Bluetooth monitoring devices that deliver ongoing biometric data to their doctors.
This clinical solution is an example of a real-world program that helps participants receive better care through data that is transmitted to their healthcare providers. Biometric data about their symptoms, behavior, and care is combined with voice response information, leading to a more robust and participatory form of care.
Reduced need for in-person visits
Patients with COPD are usually instructed to visit their doctors monthly at a minimum, which is challenging for people with limited time and resources. Even monthly visits can be far too infrequent to gather meaningful data for the treatment of the disease.
Telemonitoring reduces patients’ and providers’ reliance on in-person checkups to make adjustments to treatment regimens. This solution creates an enormous savings of resources, plus it prevents travel from being a barrier to treatment.
Better and more timely disease management
Healthcare has always faced the challenge of intervening at the right time, meaning detecting and treating patients’ ailments before they worsen. Remote patient monitoring allows more timely disease management.
Prediction and prevention of COPD are improving with telemonitoring. A study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that access to telemonitoring technology could improve patients’ ability to make informed decisions about their health and treating early-stage COPD.
It’s crucial for patients to feel empowered to understand and monitor their COPD. When patients don’t experience this sense of empowerment, they may encounter feelings of hopelessness about their disease that sets the stage for allowing their treatment regimen to lapse.
For example, an NIH study of people aged 60 or over with COPD found that autonomy and empowerment were key factors in helping participants actively “manage COPD” rather than passively “live with COPD.” Telemonitoring is a tool that keeps control in the patient’s hands rather than making them feel controlled by their doctor or their disease. In the words of the study’s authors, “Self-regulation enables the elder to feel in control and live optimally.”
There are also many individual patient stories like Fred's story about needing a way to monitor his blood pressure and track his use of a daily inhaler for COPD. As a busy CEO, telemonitoring allows Fred to take his own vitals on his busy schedule and stay in touch with his doctor anytime and anywhere.
Ease of use
The best telemonitoring technology feels engaging for patients and providers due to its intuitive design and ease of use. This is a vitally-important aspect of conducting successful telehealth programs because, according to the American Journal of Managed Care, one of the most significant challenges to treating COPD is maintaining patient adherence to a treatment plan.
Through remote patient monitoring, the provider can gather data about the patient’s disease, examine how their treatment is progressing, and make recommendations that keep the patient on track. This improves care and saves lives.
Predictability of exacerbations
Improving chronic care management involves predicting exacerbations, or factors that worsen a patient’s condition. Normally, the management of patient exacerbations is accomplished through a series of in-person visits or even emergency care hospital admissions. This isn’t ideal.
Telehealth offers the opportunity to predict and prevent exacerbations, giving patients a better lifetime outlook for managing their COPD. It minimizes in-person visits and reduces the need for hospital resources. An NIH study found that remote patient monitoring of patients with moderate to severe COPD showed a significant reduction in the average seven-day rolling number of healthcare utilization events.
It’s clear that remote patient monitoring holds great promise for patients living with COPD even as it demonstrates clear benefits for major healthcare organizations. National COPD Awareness Month is the perfect time to celebrate these successes.
See Telemonitoring in Action for COPD Patients
To learn more about the emerging benefits of telemonitoring, please review case studies and outcomes for patients who are using remote patient monitoring. AMC Health is at the forefront of telehealth innovation and sees thousands of patient success stories every day.
For more information about our telehealth solutions, please reach out to us about scheduling a demo. AMC Health provides remote patient monitoring solutions for seamless, real-time virtual healthcare that empowers people, maximizes resource management, and improves patient outcomes for COPD.