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Do telemedical interventions improve quality of life in patients with COPD? A systematic review

Authors Lomholt Gregersen T, Green A, Frausing E, Ringbaek T, Brøndum E, Ulrik CS

Received 10 September 2015

Accepted for publication 7 February 2016

Published 21 April 2016 Volume 2016:11(1) Pages 809—822


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

Thorbjørn L Gregersen,1 Allan Green,1 Ejvind Frausing,1 Thomas Ringbæk,1,2 Eva Brøndum,1 Charlotte Suppli Ulrik1,2

1Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Hvidovre Hospital, Hvidovre, 2Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

Objective: Telehealth is an approach to disease management, which may hold the potential of improving some of the features associated with COPD, including positive impact on disease progression, and thus possibly limiting further reduction in quality of life (QoL). Our objective was, therefore, to summarize studies addressing the impact of telehealth on QoL in patients with COPD.
Design: Systematic review.
Methods: A series of systematic searches were carried out using the following databases: PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, and Clinical (last updated November 2015). A predefined search algorithm was utilized with the intention to capture all results related to COPD, QoL, and telehealth published since year 2000.
Outcome measures: Primary outcome was QoL, assessed by validated measures.
Results: Out of the 18 studies fulfilling the criteria for inclusion in this review, three studies found statistically significant improvements in QoL for patients allocated to telemedical interventions. However, all of the other included studies found no statistically significant differences between control and telemedical intervention groups in terms of QoL.
Conclusion: Telehealth does not make a strong case for itself when exclusively looking at QoL as an outcome, since statistically significant improvements relative to control groups have been observed only in few of the available studies. Nonetheless, this does not only rule out the possibility that telehealth is superior to standard care with regard to other outcomes but also seems to call for more research, not least in large-scale controlled trials.

Keywords: COPD, telehealth care, quality of life, review, telemedicine

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