Background: Remote in-home monitoring (RM) of symptoms and physiological variables may allow early detection and treatment of exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It is unclear whether RM improves patient outcomes or healthcare resource utilization. This study determined whether RM is feasible in patients with COPD and if RM reduces hospital admissions or length of stay (LOS) or improves health-related quality of life (HRQOL).
Subjects and methods: Forty-four patients were randomized to standard best practice care (SBP) (n=22) or SBP+RM (n=22). RM involved daily recording of physiological variables, symptoms, and medication usage.
Results: There were no differences (mean±SD, SBP versus SBP+RM) in age (68±8 versus 70±9 years), gender (male:female 10:12 in both groups), or previous computer familiarity (59% versus 50%) between groups. The SBP group had a lower forced expiratory volume in 1 s (0.66±0.24 versus 0.91±0.34 L, p<0.01) and more current smokers (six versus none, p<0.05). There were no differences in number of COPD-related admissions/year (1.5±1.8 versus 1.3±1.7, p=0.76), COPD-related LOS days/year (15.6±19.4 versus 11.4±19.6, p=0.66), total admissions/year (2.2±2.1 versus 2.0±2.3, p=0.86), total LOS days/year (22.1±29.9 versus 21.6±30.4, p=0.88), or HRQOL between the two groups.
Conclusions: The addition of RM to SBP was feasible but did not reduce healthcare utilization or improve quality of life in this group of patients already receiving comprehensive respiratory care.