Many studies have demonstrated that availing Digital-technology-enabled care programs helps in reduction of hospitalizations and mortality in COPD patients. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a severe chronic disease that needs continuous care from the time of hospital admission extending to long-term ongoing self management.
The current review highlights the benefits of digital health interventions in COPD care. It also discussed the gaps and the need for further studies in COPD care.
The review is based on several recent and emerging studies along the pathway of COPD management from in-hospital care, post-discharge care, hospital-at-home, self management. The review also considered several studies on the impacts of environmental factors and public health surveillance, where environmental sensors, satellite images, wearable devices and social media were used.
Several studies have demonstrated that digital applications can potentially reduce hospitalizations and mortality in COPD patients. Some of the studies demonstrated positive effects on reducing hospitalizations by 20% with the use of telemonitoring. Implementation of these applications is often found difficult. This demands the need for personalization of the service that increases its adaptability both by patients and healthcare professionals. Digital transformation enabled population studies also helps in improving public health surveillance.
The use of AI in the analysis of personalised data that is collected via smartphone sensors and wearable devices is also the current topic of research. It provides new opportunities for early prediction and prevention of COPD exacerbation.
However, clinical evidence for the impact of digital transformation in COPD care, especially for in-hospital and post-discharge care is limited. Therefore, further research is needed to achieve positive and beneficial results through digital transformation in COPD care.
Ding H, Fatehi F, Maiorana A, Bashi N, Hu W, Edwards I. Digital health for COPD care: the current state of play. J Thorac Dis. 2019;11(Suppl 17):S2210–S2220. doi:10.21037/jtd.2019.10.17