- A study of 39 patients who were hospitalized or visited the emergency room in conjunction with chronic pulmonary disease (COPD) in the prior year showed that monitoring of controller and rescue inhaler use with electronic devices helped reduce healthcare utilization.
- Propeller Health provided the monitoring platform, which uses a sensor connected to a patient's inhaled COPD medication to transmit information on medication adherence and usage trends to a smartphone or data hub.
- Results of the study, conducted by Cleveland Clinic researchers, were published in the Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare.
COPD, which has no cure, is the third leading cause of death by disease in the U.S., according to the American Lung Association. COPD includes emphysema, chronic bronchitis and emphysema. More than 11 million people have been diagnosed with COPD and many more may be undiagnosed.
Electronic inhaler monitoring technology to assess adherence to inhaler therapy can include audiovisual reminders, and some systems have interactive platforms that provide real-time feedback to patients.
Newer-generation systems have shown promise in other research for improving clinical outcomes in patients with asthma. Adherence to prescribed inhalers increased with the use of AV reminders, automated feedback such as text messages and interactive voice calls, and provider feedback.
The Cleveland Clinic researchers found that use of electronic inhaler monitoring together with a disease management program reduced COPD-related healthcare utilization from an average of 3.4 trips to the hospital in the year before enrollment to 2.2 visits.
Patients used electronic monitoring devices for maintenance and rescue inhalers for one year. They were contacted when alerts were triggered indicating suboptimal adherence to controller inhalers or increased use of rescue inhalers that might signal a worsening of the condition. The data also showed a reduction in all-cause healthcare utilization that was not statistically significant.
The study, conducted between October 2016 and May 2017, was led by Amy Attaway, Umur Hatipoğlu, Richard Rice and Khaled Alshabani. The average age of patients in the study was 68 years old.