Is Home-Based Spirometry the Wave of the Future?

Feb 14, 2012

Spiro PD Personal Spirometer

Will a personal spirometer for home use become the future of remote health care for COPD, asthma and lung transplant patients? (Photo courtesy: PMD Healthcare)

Initial findings of what was billed as the world’s largest randomized control trial of remote health care are promising.

Led by the U.K. Department of Health, the three-year study enlisted thousands of volunteers with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart faillure, COPD, and arthritis, and equiped them with stationary electronic medical devices for home use or mobile devices for use on the go.

Initial results show that remote health care, or “telehealth,” can deliver the following:

  • 15% reduction in emergency room visits
  • 20% reduction in emergency admissions
  • 14% reduction in elective admissions
  • 14% reduction in bed days
  • 45% reduction in mortality rates

In the U.S., eResearchTechnology, Inc. has teamed up with UCLA to assess the feasibility and efficacy of remote health care in over 200 patients with moderate to severe COPD.

The patients will use ERT’s SpiroPro® spirometer for daily pulmonary function tests and for tracking physical symptoms, such as breathlessness and cough. Their physical activity levels will be tracked through an accelerometer.

“All patient data will be securely uploaded to a web based data tracking site where trends in symptoms and concerns with patient status can be quickly identified and addressed through clinical care,” UCLA and ERT wrote in a joint press release. They hope to report their initial findings next year.

While trials are being conducted on both sides of the Atlantic, PMD Healthcare has taken the leap and commercialized a personal spirometer for use at home or while on the move. At US$219.00 per spirometer, SpiroPD is an affordable alternative to frequent doctor visits and related expenses.

Spiro PD combines a spirometer, a breathing exerciser, and a medication and  PFT reminder alarm in a portable housing with interchangeable adult and pediatric mouthpieces. Data collected from the unit is then uploaded to the physician prescribing the spirometer.

If you were given the choice between remote monitoring at home and monthly visits to the doctor, which would you choose and why? How would remote health care benefit COPD and chronic asthma patients?

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