Cleveland Clinic study finds electronic inhaler usage reduces COPD-related hospitalizations

When combined with adherence to a disease management program, the use of electronic inhaler monitoring is associated with fewer hospitalizations and emergency room visits for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to a recent study in the Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare.

A group of researchers from the Cleveland Clinic provided the electronic monitoring devices to a group of patients with COPD. The platform, from Madison, Wis.-based Propeller Health, connects a sensor to a patient's existing COPD inhaler, which then collects and transmits data to provide patients with alerts and insights regarding medication adherence and usage.

After using the device, compared to the year prior to enrollment in the study, the patients experienced a significant reduction in COPD-related hospitalizations and ER visits: from an average of 3.4 hospital trips to 2.2.

"We prescribe inhaled medications for patients with COPD all the time. It's really the cornerstone of their therapy, and when they return to the clinic we do ask them whether they're using their medications, but the reality is we never know how adherent patients are objectively," Umur Hatipoğlu, MD, a Cleveland Clinic pulmonologist, said. "Electronic inhaler monitoring allows us to assess inhaler adherence at the point of care."

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