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Remote Monitoring Could Help COPD Patients, But More Studies Are Needed

feb2018006A report titled, “Impact of remote patient monitoring on clinical outcomes: an updated meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials” recently appeared in the NPJ Digital Medicine Journal. The study analyzed the impact of devices that remotely monitor patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to determine if these tools show promise in improving the condition.

The researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center team analyzed twenty-seven clinical trials, which focused on various conditions conducted throughout thirteen countries. Four of these trials compared remote monitoring and traditional care methods to determine whether utilization of remote monitoring could enhance clinical outcomes among COPD patients.

For instance, one of the studies focused on a nurse who used remote monitoring capabilities to gain insight into “patients’ pulse oximeter and respiratory health sensor readings.” Although evidence did not suggest that the monitoring had an impact on lung function, hospital readmission rates or quality of life, remote monitoring did lead to increased patient engagement and self-management of their COPD.

An additional trial focused on the remote monitoring of COPD patients’ vital signs. Researchers concluded that these patients had “lower rates of hospitalization and emergency room visits and shorter hospital stays,” when compared with patients who had not been remotely monitored. Further, another study revealed that “remotely monitored patients saved an average of $2,931 in treatment costs compared with other patients.”

The third study also revealed a lower rate of hospital admissions and costs associated with remote patient monitoring. In a fourth study an association between “lower flare-up rates and flare-up-related hospitalizations among remotely monitored patients,” was also discovered. The Cedars-Sinai research team examined several measures among all four studies. It was concluded that remote monitoring did not impact “patients’ weight, body mass index, waist circumference, body fat percentage or blood pressure.”

The team also hypothesized that certain monitoring-related treatments appeared to be more effective than other types, such as treatments utilizing “established care guidelines, social science models or personalized coaching.”

“Future studies should be powered to analyze sub-populations to better understand when and for whom RPM (remote patient monitoring) is most effective,” said the researchers.

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