Study: Electronic Monitoring for COPD Cuts Hospital Visits

Results highlight technology’s place in COPD treatment

Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease whose inhaler use was tracked by a monitoring device were less likely to end up in the hospital, according to new research.

The study found that electronic monitoring allows healthcare providers to provide interventions sooner. It also highlights the role that technology can play in providing data to inform disease management programs.

Investigators from the Cleveland Clinic wanted to evaluate electronic inhaler monitoring (EIM) in patients with COPD who also had high healthcare utilization. They enrolled 39 patients (average age: 68.6) who underwent at least one hospitalization or emergency department visit in the previous year, and researchers connected a small sensor to participants’ inhalers.

After one year, investigators found patients’ hospital use dropped from 3.4 visits to the hospital in the prior year to 2.2 visits in the year covered by the study.

“We prescribe inhaled medications for patients with COPD all the time,” he said in a press release. “It’s really the cornerstone of their therapy, and when they return to the clinic, we do ask them whether they’re using their medications, but the reality is we never know how adherent patients are objectively.”

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