Supporting COPD Patients with Telehealth and Virtual Care

Understanding COPD Patients

More than 16.4 million people have been diagnosed with COPD, but millions more may have the disease without even knowing it, according to the American Lung Association. COPD causes serious long-term disability and early death.  COPD is the third leading cause of death by disease in the United States.

Much can be done to treat and help manage the disease. Through medications, oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation and social support, many people are able to live with their disease for many years.  Home health agencies play a critical role in supporting these patients.  Education, compliance, and stabilization are just some of the goals for home health clinicians when caring for patients with COPD.

Using Telehealth to Support COPD Patients

With the use of a virtual care communication platform such as Synzi, home health clinicians can conduct virtual visits and schedule a series of ongoing messages to:

  • Review how to accurately use an inhaler, practice, and receive feedback on proper use
  • Remind patients to continue taking prescribed medication as directed
  • Help patients protect lungs by discussing ways to reduce exposure to anything that could worsen the condition
  • Share guidance and feedback on the recommended exercise routine
  • Provide emotional support to help patients address feelings of fear, anxiety, depression or stress

Reducing readmissions is a key outcome for telehealth.  With bidirectional communication features, a patient can quickly share their symptoms with a provider and receive real-time direction on whether the situation can be self-managed or if the patient should visit the ED.

Synzi’s RPM feature also helps agencies better monitor COPD patients on key vitals.   And, patient assessments can be created and conducted to provide insight into the patient’s condition in between virtual and in-person visits.  With the reporting dashboard, the home health agency administrator can review each patient’s level of interaction in the communication program and adjust the messaging and plan of care.  Based on the data collected, home health clinicians can determine if the patient’s condition is deteriorating and conduct interventions when necessary.

Synzi’s customers have experienced positive impact in using telehealth to engage patients with COPD.  Interventions are conducted quicker when change in condition is detected.  $450K in savings have been realized by preventing ER visits and hospital readmissions in 6 months.

Using a combination of video-based virtual visits and ongoing communications, Synzi’s virtual care platform can help a home health agency reduce the number and length of hospital stays for a patient with COPD, reduce the risk of complications, and stabilize the patient while improving his/her quality of life.

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