Effects and barriers to deployment of telehealth wellness programs for chronic patients across 3 European countries

A. Barberan-Garcia*, I. Vogiatzis, H. S. Solberg, J. Vilaró, D. A. Rodríguez, H. M. Garåsen, T. Troosters, J. Garcia-Aymerich, J. Roca

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Background Benefits of cardiopulmonary rehabilitation (CPR) in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are well established, but long-term sustainability of training-induced effects and its translation into healthy lifestyles are unsolved issues. It is hypothesized that Integrated Care Services supported by Information and Communication Technologies (ICS-ICT) can overcome such limitations. In the current study, we explored 3 ICS-ICT deployment experiences conducted in Barcelona, Trondheim and Athens. Methods In the 3 sites, a total of 154 patients completed an 8-week supervised CPR program. Thereafter, they were allocated either to an ICS-ICT group or to usual care (CPR + UC) during a follow-up period of at least 12 months with assessment of 6-min walking test (6MWT) as main outcome variable at all time points in the 3 sites. Because real deployment was prioritized, the interventions were adapted to site heterogeneities. Results In the ICS-ICT group from Barcelona (n = 77), the use of the personal health folder (PHF) was the cornerstone technological tool to empower COPD patients for self-management showing high applicability and user-acceptance. Long-term sustainability of training-induced increase in exercise capacity was observed in ICS-ICT compared to the control group (p = 0.01). Likewise, ICS-ICT enhanced the activities domain of the SGRQ (p < 0.01) and daily physical activity (p = 0.03), not seen in controls. No effects of ICS-ICT were observed in Trondheim (n = 37), nor in Athens (n = 40), due to technological and/or organizational limitations. Conclusions The study results suggest the potential of the ICS-ICT Barcelona's approach to enhance COPD management. Moreover, it allowed identification of the factors limiting transferability to the other sites. The research prompts the need for large multicenter trials specifically designed to assess effectiveness, efficiencies and transferability of this type of intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)628-637
Number of pages10
JournalRespiratory Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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