Background and objective: Telemonitoring (TM) of patients with COPD has gained much interest, but studies have produced conflicting results. We aimed to investigate the effect of TM with the option of video consultations on quality of life (QoL) in patients with severe COPD.
Patients and methods: COPD patients at high risk of exacerbations were eligible for the 6-month study and a total of 281 patients were equally randomized to either TM (n=141) or usual care (n=140). TM comprised recording of symptoms, oxygen saturation, spirometry, and video consultations. Algorithms generated alerts if readings breached thresholds. Both groups filled in a health-related QoL questionnaire (15D©) and the COPD Assessment Test (CAT) at baseline and at 6 months. Within-group differences were analyzed by paired t-test.
Results: Most of the enrolled patients had severe COPD (86% with Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease stage 3 or 4 and 45% with admission for COPD within the last year, respectively). No difference in drop-out rate and mortality was found between the groups, and likewise there was no difference in 15D or CAT at baseline. At 6 months, a significant improvement of 0.016 in 15D score (p=0.03; minimal clinically important difference 0.015) was observed in the TM group (compared to baseline), while there was no improvement in the control group -0.003 (p=0.68). After stratifying 15D score at baseline to <0.75 or ≥0.75, respectively, there was a significant difference in the <0.75 TM group of 0.037 (p=0.001), which is a substantial improvement. No statistically significant changes were found in CAT score.
Conclusion: Compared to the nonintervention group, TM as an add-on to usual care over a 6-month period improved QoL, as assessed by the 15D questionnaire, in patients with severe COPD, whereas no difference between groups was observed in CAT score.
Keywords: COPD; quality of life; tele–health care; video consultations.