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Effectiveness of telemonitoring integrated into existing clinical services on hospital admission for exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: researcher blind, multicentre, randomised controlled trial

Pinnock, H.; McCloughan, L.; Todd, A.; Krishan, A.; Lewis, S.; Stoddart, A.; van der Pol, M.; MacNee, W.; Sheikh, A.; Pagliari, C.; McKinstry, B.; Pinnock, Hilary; Hanley, J.; McCloughan, Lucy; Todd, Allison; Krishan, Ashma; Lewis, Steff; Stoddart, Andrew; van der Pol, Marjon; MacNee, William; Sheikh, Aziz; Pagliari, Claudia; McKinstry, Brian


H. Pinnock

L. McCloughan

A. Todd

A. Krishan

S. Lewis

A. Stoddart

M. van der Pol

W. MacNee

A. Sheikh

C. Pagliari

B. McKinstry

Hilary Pinnock

Lucy McCloughan

Allison Todd

Ashma Krishan

Steff Lewis

Andrew Stoddart

Marjon van der Pol

William MacNee

Aziz Sheikh

Claudia Pagliari

Brian McKinstry


Objective To test the effectiveness of telemonitoring integrated into existing clinical services such that intervention and control groups have access to the same clinical care.

Design Researcher blind, multicentre, randomised controlled trial.

Setting UK primary care (Lothian, Scotland).

Participants Adults with at least one admission for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in the year before randomisation. We excluded people who had other significant lung disease, who were unable to provide informed consent or complete the study, or who had other significant social or clinical problems.

Interventions Participants were recruited between 21 May 2009 and 28 March 2011, and centrally randomised to receive telemonitoring or conventional self monitoring. Using a touch screen, telemonitoring participants recorded a daily questionnaire about symptoms and treatment use, and monitored oxygen saturation using linked instruments. Algorithms, based on the symptom score, generated alerts if readings were omitted or breached thresholds. Both groups received similar care from existing clinical services.

Main outcome measures The primary outcome was time to hospital admission due to COPD exacerbation up to one year after randomisation. Other outcomes included number and duration of admissions, and validated questionnaire assessments of health related quality of life (using St George’s respiratory questionnaire (SGRQ)), anxiety or depression (or both), self efficacy, knowledge, and adherence to treatment. Analysis was intention to treat.

Results Of 256 patients completing the study, 128 patients were randomised to telemonitoring and 128 to usual care; baseline characteristics of each group were similar. The number of days to admission did not differ significantly between groups (adjusted hazard ratio 0.98, 95% confidence interval 0.66 to 1.44). Over one year, the mean number of COPD admissions was similar in both groups (telemonitoring 1.2 admissions per person (standard deviation 1.9) v control 1.1 (1.6); P=0.59). Mean duration of COPD admissions over one year was also similar between groups (9.5 days per person (standard deviation 19.1) v 8.8 days (15.9); P=0.88). The intervention had no significant effect on SGRQ scores between groups (68.2 (standard deviation 16.3) v 67.3 (17.3); adjusted mean difference 1.39 (95% confidence interval −1.57 to 4.35)), or on other questionnaire outcomes.

Conclusions In participants with a history of admission for exacerbations of COPD, telemonitoring was not effective in postponing admissions and did not improve quality of life. The positive effect of telemonitoring seen in previous trials could be due to enhancement of the underpinning clinical service rather than the telemonitoring communication.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Oct 17, 2013
Publication Date Oct 17, 2013
Deposit Date Mar 27, 2014
Publicly Available Date Mar 27, 2014
Print ISSN 0959-8138
Electronic ISSN 1756-1833
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 347
Issue oct17 3
Pages f6070-f6070
Keywords Sociology; Stroke; Clinical trials (epidemiology);
General practice; family medicine; Informed consent;
Public URL
Publisher URL
Contract Date Mar 27, 2014