The first aim of this study was to investigate the effects of a telerehabilitation intervention on health status and activity level of patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), compared to usual care. The second was to investigate how patients comply with the intervention and whether compliance is associated with treatment outcomes. A randomized controlled pilot trial of thirty-four patients diagnosed with COPD given the telerehabilitation. Application consists of an activity coach (3D-accelerometer with smartphone) for ambulant activity registration and real-time feedback, complemented by a web portal with a symptom diary for self-treatment of exacerbations. The intervention group used the application for 4 weeks. The control group received usual care. Activity level measured by a pedometer (in steps/day) and health status by the Clinical COPD Questionnaire at baseline and after intervention served as the primary outcome measures. Compliance was expressed as the time the activity coach was worn. Fourteen intervention and 16 control patients completed the study. Activity level (steps/day) was not significantly affected by the intervention over time. There was a non-significant difference in improvement in health status between the intervention (-0.34±0.55) and control group (0.02±0.57, p=0.10). Health status significantly improved within the intervention group (p=0.05). The activity coach was used more than prescribed (108%) and compliance was related to the increase in activity level for the first two feedback weeks (r=0.62, p=0.03).
This pilot study showed the potential of the telerehabilitation intervention: compliance with the activity coach was high, which directly related to better activity levels.