The Comprehensive COPD Clinic at UC Davis Health developed a remote patient monitoring (RPM) program to serve high-risk COPD patients with the intention of enhancing treatment for these patients. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 16 million Americans suffer from COPD, but there are probably many more unrecognized cases. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are two examples of the diseases that fall under the category of COPD, which also includes other illnesses that impair breathing and impede airways. The Comprehensive COPD Clinic at UC Davis Health introduced RPM to its services to improve care for this illness among Sacramento-area patients. The program accepts up to 12 patients at a time and gives them a pulse oximeter, an electronic gadget that gauge’s heart rate and red blood cell oxygen saturation. Through a dashboard in the patient’s EHR, respiratory therapists daily gather and check the data from the devices. Additionally, patients are questioned every day about whether their symptoms are becoming better, worse, or staying the same. The information technology team at UC Davis Health created rules to filter the data on the dashboard and generate alarms to signal when a patient’s symptoms are getting worse.
Brooks Kuhn, assistant professor of medicine and co-director of the Comprehensive COPD Clinic commented on COPD, stating: “COPD is a disease that comes in many forms, so treatment needs to be tailored to individual patients and their burden of disease,” “The core mission of the program is to empower our high-risk patients with health technology tools to help remove barriers to care, emphasize preventive care, and improve self-management, which are critical to improving clinical outcomes and patient quality of life.”
Through a dashboard in the patient’s electronic health record (EHR), respiratory therapists routinely gather and monitor data from the devices. Additionally, patients are asked every day if their symptoms have improved, become worse, or stayed the same. Members of the UC Davis Health information technology team created rules to filter data on the dashboard and established alarms to signal when a patient’s symptoms were getting worse.
In September, the Watertown Regional Medical Center (WRMC) launched an RPM program to treat numerous ailments like hypertension and heart failure. These two ailments are widespread in the US and, like COPD, have a strong link to mortality. However, the RPM program enables patients to measure health metrics and transmit information to care providers remotely using a variety of cellular-enabled devices like blood pressure monitors and weight scales. WRMC emphasized its aspirations to gradually expand the program to address more ailments like diabetes and COPD, even though it will initially exclusively treat patients with hypertension and heart failure.