Re-admissions to hospital and patient satisfaction among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease after telemedicine video consultation - a retrospective pilot study
Background: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a major cause of acute hospital admissions. The main object of our study was to evaluate the effects of telemedicine video-consultation (TVC) on the frequency of hospital re-admissions due to COPD exacerbations. Our secondary aim was to assess the impact of TVC on the length of re-admission stays within 6 and 12 months follow up after TVC. Patient satisfaction was also evaluated.
Methods: The study was a retrospective observational study of COPD patients who after hospital discharge or during outpatient treatment for acute COPD exacerbations, were monitored for 2 weeks by TVC at home by a specialist nurse at the hospital during a pilot project period. Retrospectively, we compared the frequencies (chi-square test) and durations of hospital re-admissions (paired t-test) due to COPD exacerbations within 6 and 12 months follow up after TVC to comparable events 6 and 12 months prior to TVC.
Results: Among 99 patients followed for 6 months after TVC, 56 were followed for totally 12 months. The number of patients re-admitted and the number of re-admissions due to COPD exacerbations were not reduced within 6 or 12 months post-TVC, as compared to 6 and 12 months pre-TVC. The mean length of re-admission stays within 12 months post-TVC was markedly reduced as compared to pre-TVC. Patients hospitalised the last 6 and 12 months pre-TVC, had significantly shorter re-admission stays, p = 0.033 and p = 0.001, respectively. Patient satisfaction was high.
Conclusion: Despite the failure to demonstrate reduced frequency of re-admissions within 6 and 12 months post-TVC, the re-admission length within 12 months post-TVC was markedly reduced as compared to pre-TVC. The patient satisfaction was high. Future prospective, randomised, controlled trials must be performed before TVC can be recommended in COPD management.
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