Telemedicine in COPD: time to pause

Chest. 2014 May;145(5):945-949. doi: 10.1378/chest.13-1656.


There is increasing interest in the use of telemedicine to assist in the management of chronic diseases. Telemedicine possibilities for patients with COPD include medical consultations, in-home patient monitoring, and remote rehabilitation. Teleconsultations have been used successfully, saving time and travel costs for patients with only a few subsequently requiring face-to-face visits. Despite many reports, the impact of telemonitoring on the detection of exacerbations, reductions in health-care utilization, and cost savings is equivocal. Given the health-care costs and commitment involved in telemonitoring, well-designed longer-term multicenter studies with appropriate follow-up are required prior to its more widespread application. Emerging evidence from preliminary trials of telerehabilitation for the pulmonary patient is encouraging. It may represent a useful tool for increasing access and building capacity, especially in remote areas.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Health Care Costs
  • Humans
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / economics
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / methods*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / diagnosis*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / economics
  • Remote Consultation*
  • Telemedicine / organization & administration*