Health coaching to improve self-management and quality of life for low income patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): protocol for a randomized controlled trial

BMC Pulm Med. 2017 Jun 9;17(1):90. doi: 10.1186/s12890-017-0433-3.


Background: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) severely hinders quality of life for those affected and is costly to the health care system. Care gaps in areas such as pharmacotherapy, inhaler technique, and knowledge of disease are prevalent, particularly for vulnerable populations served by community clinics. Non-professionally licensed health coaches have been shown to be an effective and cost-efficient solution in bridging care gaps and facilitating self-management for patients with other chronic diseases, but no research to date has explored their efficacy in improving care for people living with COPD.

Method: This is multi-site, single blinded, randomized controlled trial evaluates the efficacy of health coaches to facilitate patient self-management of disease and improve quality of life for patients with moderate to severe COPD. Spirometry, survey, and an exercise capacity test are conducted at baseline and at 9 months. A short survey is administered by phone at 3 and 6 months post-enrollment. The nine month health coaching intervention focuses on enhancing disease understanding and symptom awareness, improving use of inhalers; making personalized plans to increase physical activity, smoking cessation, or otherwise improve disease management; and facilitating care coordination.

Discussion: The results of this study will provide evidence regarding the efficacy and feasibility of health coaching to improve self-management and quality of life for urban underserved patients with moderate to severe COPD.

Trial registration: identifier NCT02234284 . Registered 12 August 2014.

Keywords: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Health coaching; Quality of life.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Exercise Tolerance
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Mentoring*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / therapy*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Research Design
  • Self-Management*
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Spirometry
  • Walk Test

Associated data