This research project is in progress. PCORI will post the research findings on this page within 90 days after the results are final.
What is the research about?
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD, is a health problem that makes it hard to breathe. COPD is the most common reason for hospital stays among older adults in the United States and is a leading cause of death. There is no cure for COPD. But a therapy called pulmonary rehabilitation can help patients avoid going back to the hospital. This therapy uses exercise and education to help patients breathe and function better.
Hispanic and African-American patients are much less likely to get COPD therapy than white patients. Not all health clinics offer COPD therapy. If patients live far away or don’t have a reliable way to get to a health clinic that offers COPD therapy, they may have a hard time getting this therapy.
One way to address these challenges is through telehealth. Telehealth uses computers or tablets to deliver health care over long distances. With telehealth, patients don’t need to travel to get care. By using telehealth for COPD therapy, patients can exercise at home while a therapist gives tips and feedback. The patient can also see the therapist and ask questions in real time.
In this study, the research team wants to know if telehealth therapy can help Hispanic and African-American patients with COPD improve their health and avoid going back to the hospital compared with getting therapy at a clinic.
Who can this research help?
Findings from this study may help pulmonary rehabilitation clinic directors decide whether to offer telehealth therapy for patients with COPD.
What is the research team doing?
The research team is enrolling 88 Hispanic and 50 African-American patients with COPD recently discharged from hospitals in and around New York City in this study. The team is assigning patients by chance to receive a referral to either telehealth or to outpatient therapy. Both therapy programs include exercise and education twice a week for eight weeks. Patients in the telehealth group exercise on a stationary bike at home or at a community center near their home. The bikes have a computer that lets a therapist lead each exercise session remotely. Patients in the outpatient group get the same program at an outpatient clinic. Patients complete a survey and the research team is reviewing patients’ medical records at the start and end of the program.
The research team is looking to see how often patients in each group go back to the hospital for COPD. The team also wants to know how many patients follow through with their COPD therapy referral. Finally, the team is comparing how well patients in each group can walk and their quality of life at the end of the therapy programs.
A patient partner is monitoring the study and gives regular feedback. An advisory board of patients, clinicians, policy makers, and health system administrators is also giving feedback on the study.
Research methods at a glance
Other Clinical Interventions
Other Health Services Interventions
Training and Education Interventions
- Jose Leon
- Mercedes Leon
Other Stakeholder Partners
- Clara Londono, Urban Health Plan