Early intervention is key to managing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and a new report out of details the successes of telemedicine in heading off acute exacerbations.
COPD is the third leading cause of death in the United States, causing more than 130,000 deaths each year, according to the . Roughly 12.7 million Americans have been diagnosed with the chronic respiratory disease, which presents with increasing coughing, sputum, and dyspnea. Acute exacerbations of the disease often result in hospitalization, adding to the already high costs to manage the condition. COPD costs about $49.9 billion annually, including $29.5 billion in direct healthcare costs.
But in the two-year clinical study led by Gerard J. Criner, MD, FACP, FACCP, founding chair of the new department of thoracic medicine and surgery at , and director of the Temple Lung Center, researchers found that patients that used a digital health application to report their daily symptoms and received same-day treatment recommendations from their health care provider experienced fewer and less severe COPD exacerbation symptoms, leading to an improvement in daily symptom control, lung function, and activity levels.