Tackling the world’s 3rd biggest killer with remote monitoring: Improving life for COPD patients

The challenges of COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is now the world’s third leading cause of death[1]. Due to lack of public awareness and poor management, ‘COPD remains a growing but neglected global epidemic’ [2].

It is estimated that 3 million people in the UK have COPD and although the disease it not curable, it can be managed to slow the decline of lung function and preserve the patient’s quality of life[3].

People living with COPD are particularly vulnerable to the detrimental effects of air pollution since poor air quality can induce an exacerbation[4].

Exacerbations, or ‘flare ups’ of symptoms, are responsible for much of the morbidity and mortality in COPD patients, thus treatment plans place a great deal of importance on reducing the risk of exacerbations to prevent further complications[5].

How remote monitoring can help

Remote monitoring aims to make healthcare easier for both patients and clinicians. Using a Bluetooth device, healthcare providers can communicate with patients and track their condition within a ‘virtual ward’. This development has empowered patients with long-term conditions to self-manage from the comfort of their own homes, and enabled clinicians to utilise their time and resources more effectively.

Remote monitoring can play a significant role in helping COPD patients better manage their condition and prevent exacerbations which can lead to emergency hospital admissions. By reducing the amount of time spent at GP surgeries and hospitals, COPD patients can be more independent and lead relatively ‘normal’ lives without the constant interruptions of health appointments.  

Having a direct connection with their clinical team, can give COPD patients peace of mind knowing that their condition is being checked on a regular basis and their clinician will be in touch if a health intervention is required

Understandably many patients with COPD become anxious with their condition especially as they become short of breath. By connecting patients to clinicians through a remote monitoring platform, patients’ anxiety can be reduced and they can feel more able to self-manage their condition.

Another beneficial aspect of remote monitoring is the opportunity to provide educational resources that are relevant to the patient’s condition. Ensuring patients have access to approved, reliable information can reduce anxiety and give patients the tools to better manage their disease on a daily basis, empowering them to lead a healthier lifestyle.  

Our evidence

We have conducted two in depth studies exploring how our remote patient monitoring software, CliniTouch Vie, has impacted the management of COPD patients.

  • Remote monitoring boosts patient confidence

Our investigation into the ‘Combined interventions for COPD admissions within an urban setting’ found that that patients who used CliniTouch Vie, which offers educational resources, were more knowledgeable about their condition, more confident in managing it and motivated to adopt positive behaviour to improve their health[6].

  • Remote monitoring reduces emergency admissions

The same study revealed that the use of remote monitoring reduced unscheduled hospital admissions from 222 to 74 over a 12-month period, within a sample group[7]. This 67.5% decrease helped relieve the pressure on hospital resources and kept COPD patients comfortable and safe in their own homes.

  • Remote monitoring improves CAT scores

The results from our study into ‘A cost saving intervention for patients with severe breathlessness’, demonstrated a mean reduction in score from 26.7–22.5 – a mean reduction of 4.2 or 15.9%[8]. This is clinically and statistically significant as it indicates the improvement in patients’ health and well-being after being remotely managed with CliniTouch Vie.

How CliniTouch Vie is especially helpful for COPD patients

CliniTouch Vie is a cyber secure, CE certified platform that enables clinicians to effectively monitor patients remotely. We are proud to have a team of digital health specialists constantly developing and improving the software to ensure it meets and surpasses patient’s and clinician’s expectations.

The two big ways our software benefits COPD patients are its air quality portal and its ability to provide cardio/pulmonary rehabilitation. 

  • Air quality data

As a result of our collaboration with the European Space Agency and our partnership with Catapult and Earth Sense, CliniTouch Vie is the only remote monitoring software on the market that provides live air quality updates.

Since poor air quality can induce acute exacerbations in COPD patients, having access to live air quality updates in their local area can have a huge impact on their quality of life. Knowing when it is safe to exercise outside and being able to prevent environmentally induced flare ups empowers patients to better manage their condition on a daily basis.

Find out more info here: Using air quality data to empower patients with respiratory conditions

  • Remote cardio/pulmonary rehabilitation

Due to dyspnoea and muscle pain, patients living with chronic respiratory conditions quite often become relatively inactive[9]. This can be distressing for patients and lead to a poor quality of life.

The Association of Respiratory Nurse Specialists reported that 38% of COPD patients referred for rehabilitation do not complete the treatment course, while 50% of patient routine exercise assessments are not performed to a high enough standard[10].

We believe providing cardio/pulmonary rehabilitation remotely combats many of the barriers that prevent patients starting or completing their treatment programme. It is more convenient, COVID-19 safe and provides patients with ongoing support.

Our virtual rehabilitation programme includes educational content, videos and gamification to keep patients engaged. With ongoing support and motivational messages from their clinical team they are more likely to complete the course.

Interested in remote monitoring?

If you would like to find out more about the features and benefits of CliniTouch Vie, please get in touch.  We are more than happy to give free, no-obligation demonstrations of CliniTouch Vie from the patient and clinician’s perspective.  

Please email info@spirit-digital.co.uk or call 0800 881 5423.

[1] Lozano R, et al. Global and regional mortality from 235 causes of death for 20 age groups in 1990 and 2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. The Lancet 2012; 380: 2095–2128

[2] Quaderi SA, Hurst JR. The unmet global burden of COPD. Glob Health Epidemiol Genom. 2018;3:e4. Published 2018 Apr 6. doi:10.1017/gheg.2018.1

[3] https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/qs10/chapter/introduction#:~:text=In%20the%20UK%2C%20it%20is,whom%202%20million%20are%20undiagnosed.


[5] Quaderi SA, Hurst JR. The unmet global burden of COPD. Glob Health Epidemiol Genom. 2018;3:e4. Published 2018 Apr 6. doi:10.1017/gheg.2018.1

[6] https://www.magonlinelibrary.com/doi/abs/10.12968/bjhc.2016.22.3.123?af=&

[7] https://www.magonlinelibrary.com/doi/abs/10.12968/bjhc.2016.22.3.123?af=&

[8] https://www.magonlinelibrary.com/doi/abs/10.12968/bjhc.2018.24.11.526

[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4487369/#C44

[10] https://arns.co.uk/pulmonary-rehabilitation-provides-substantial-health-benefits-yet-many-patients-waiting-long-treatment/