Digital Health Technology and Telemedicine-Based Hospital and Home Programs in Pulmonary Medicine During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Am J Ther. 2021 Feb 3;28(2):e217-e223. doi: 10.1097/MJT.0000000000001342.


Background: The current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has caused a significant strain on medical resources throughout the world. A major shift to telemedicine and mobile health technologies has now taken on an immediate urgency. Newly developed devices designed for home use have facilitated remote monitoring of various physiologic parameters relevant to pulmonary diseases. These devices have also enabled home-based pulmonary rehabilitation programs. In addition, telemedicine and home care services have been leveraged to rapidly develop acute care hospital-at-home programs for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 illness.

Areas of uncertainty: The benefit of remote monitoring technologies on patient outcomes has not been established in robust trials. Furthermore, the use of these devices, which can increase the burden of care, has not been integrated into current clinical workflows and electronic medical records. Finally, reimbursement for these telemedicine and remote monitoring services is variable.

Data sources: Literature review.

Therapeutic advances: Advances in digital technology have improved remote monitoring of physiologic parameters relevant to pulmonary medicine. In addition, telemedicine services for the provision of pulmonary rehabilitation and novel hospital-at-home programs have been developed. These new home-based programs have been adapted for COVID-19 and may also be relevant for the management of acute and chronic pulmonary diseases after the pandemic.

Conclusion: Digital remote monitoring of physiologic parameters relevant to pulmonary medicine and novel hospital-at-home programs are feasible and may improve care for patients with acute and chronic respiratory-related disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Technology / trends
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • COVID-19* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Lung Diseases* / rehabilitation
  • Lung Diseases* / therapy
  • Pulmonary Medicine / trends
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Telemedicine* / methods
  • Telemedicine* / organization & administration