The effects of real-time telemedicine consultations between hospital-based nurses and severe COPD patients discharged after exacerbation admissions
Introduction: Hospitalisation with acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (AECOPD) causes a major burden for the COPD patients and is a common cause for admissions and readmissions to medical wards. Objectives: To investigate the effect of one week of daily real-time telemedicine video consultations (teleconsultation) between hospital-based nurses specialised in respiratory diseases (telenurses) and patients with severe COPD discharged after AECOPD in addition to conventional treatment compared to the effect of conventional treatment. Methods: Patients admitted with AECOPD at two different locations were recruited at hospital discharge and randomly assigned (1:1) to either daily teleconsultation for one week in addition to conventional treatment, the TVC group or to conventional treatment, the CT group. The telemedicine equipment consisted of a briefcase with built-in computer including a web camera, microphone and measurement equipment. Primary outcome: consisted of the total number of readmissions within 26 weeks after discharge. Results: A total of 266 patients (mean age 71.5 years, SD 9.5 years) were allocated to either TVC (n=132) or CT (n=134). No significant difference was noted between the groups (p = 0.62).