The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and eResearch Technology Inc. (ERT) have announced that they will be launching a program to test whether remote health monitoring will benefit patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Researchers believe that if COPD patients can identify the symptoms and concerns of exacerbations early, their quality of life will improve and result in delayed or decreased demand for expensive medical care. To make this possible, UCLA and ERT have designed a program that will provide enhanced services to the patient outside of the physician’s office and beyond the normal process of care. This includes home-based spirometry, activity monitoring, adherence scoring and self-reported symptom monitoring, all enabled through technology.
However, before making this program available to COPD patients, the organizations will run a 12-month study designed to test its effectiveness. The study—known as the CLEAR Study—will test whether the remote health monitoring:
- Is feasible in patients with moderate to severe COPD
- Improves treatment adherence, symptoms, activity level and quality of life
- Enables early detection of COPD exacerbations, facilitating early interventions and reducing health related expenditures
Researchers will test for these outcomes using a randomized study for patients 40 years of age and older receiving care for COPD in the Los Angeles community. Patients will be required to track their lung function on a daily basis using ERT’s SpiroPro®, which will also track symptoms such as breathlessness and cough. They will also use devices to access the new CLEAR Rx and CLEAR Ex Assessment instruments to determine prescription adherence and perceived activity levels. Lastly, enrollees will be required to record their physical activity levels, such as the number of steps taken per day and total activity time, using a wearable accelerometer. All tests will be performed daily from the patient’s home.
Throughout the study, researchers will track metrics to determine:
- The adoption rate of remote health monitoring
- Time to first COPD exacerbation
- Treatment adherence
- Respiratory function
- Daily activity level and symptom scores
- Utilization information, such as number of physician visits, emergency department visits, hospitalizations, number of days spent in hospital, and inferred healthcare costs
More than 200 patients are expected to enroll in this study, with the first one beginning the program in February 2012. Patient outcomes will be reported in late 2013.