The COPD Foundation and medical software developer ViiMed this week announced the launch of COPD360coach at the European Respiratory Society International Congress in Amsterdam.
Development of COPD360coach stems from a Crowdshaped event co-hosted by the COPD Foundation and Novartis Pharmaceuticals in early June — a collaborative effort that convened a diverse range of mindsets, knowledge backgrounds and experiences with the objective to enhance patient-centered care for persons affected by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) — a lung disorder affecting approximately 30 million Americans that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranks as the third leading cause of death in America (138,080) after Heart disease (597,689) and cancers (574,743). The American Lung Association notes that COPD is also a major cause of disability, and while some 12 million Americans have a formal COPD diagnosis. an estimated 12 million more people may have the disease and go undiagnosed.
Like “cancer,” COPD is a term that actually encompasses a range of conditions, but generally speaking refers to permanent lung damage that gets worse over time. The disease can affect patients’ airways, air sacs or both. The two most prevalent forms of COPD are chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Both cause airway blockage, resulting in shortness of breath, chronic productive coughing that produces large amounts of mucus, chest tightness and/or wheezing and other symptoms. Laboring to breathe can limit activity, diminish quality of life and put extra strain on the heart.
The leading cause of COPD is cigarette smoking. According to the National Institutes of Health, 42 percent of COPD sufferers are former smokers and 34 percent are current smokers. However the rest — a substantial 24 percent — are persons who’ve never lit a cigarette, and it is believed that exposure to other lung irritants such as air pollution, chemical fumes, or dust, especially over long terms, also may contribute to the development of COPD, which is typically diagnosed in middle-aged or older adults, and is not contagious or communicable.
COPD is an expensive, progressive, and debilitating disease, there is no cure as of yet, and no known means of reversing damage to the airways and lungs. However, its impact can be reduced through good management, making it an ideal target for an mHealth intervention. Good management includes avoiding environmental risk factors, medication adherence, good nutrition, exercise, and timely treatment of exacerbations when they occur.
ViiMed has developed a workflow engine, known as a “pathway builder,” that enables health care organizations and complementary health care technology and service partners to create, deploy, maintain and innovate its personalized virtual health care delivery system to guide patient empowerment for people with COPD, diabetes and congestive heart failure (CHF); coordinate and automate the pre-operative process; follow-up with patients in the post-operative phase; layer peer coaching and oversight onto existing care management teams; scale telehealth reimbursement; reduce readmissions; improve HCAHPS and CGCAHPS; and hardwire staff efficiencies.
In order to bring the ideas from the Crowdshaped open-thinking session to fruition, the COPD Foundation, which is the only U.S. healthcare nonprofit dedicated to preventing and curing COPD, conducted a nationwide technology search, resulting in selection of the team at ViiMed, a leader in asynchronous telehealth and care coordination, to develop a solution combining what was derived from Crowdshaped into a cohesive platform. Together, the Foundation and ViiMed are offering an exceptional platform for Health Systems and Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) to deploy to COPD patients in an effort to help them better manage their disease.
Eagerly awaited since the project’s conception in mid-July, COPD360coach is an interactive website and mobile application for health coaching, health education and wellness monitoring for patients with COPD. The platform complements and enhances healthcare organizations’ existing care management solutions and enables a coordinated and asynchronous peer-coaching infrastructure — an approach that further guides empowerment of people with COPD utilizing educational modules comprised of online videos and courses taught by health professionals and real COPD patients, while providing an extended care coordination backbone for the Health System or ACO.
“We are so excited to bring COPD360coach to people with COPD. All the terrific ideas that emerged from Crowdshaped are being put into action. Collaborating with ViiMed team has truly amplified these ideas, and the ViiMed technology platform is the perfect venue for our innovation to come to life. ViiMed’s outside-looking-in approach to virtual care will not only help make the lives of people with COPD better, but also enable healthcare organizations to scale and personalize patient empowerment,” says John Walsh, President and Co-Founder of the COPD Foundation.
When asked to discuss specifics around the Foundation’s COPD360coach, ViiMed’s CEO, Phil Newman, observed that “COPD Foundation’s existing initiatives, COPD360social and its COPD Patient-Powered Research Network (COPD PPRN), are making a difference today for thousands of people with COPD and our team at ViiMed is honored to extend that effort by bringing the care delivery element, COPD360coach, to life. To drive empowerment for a person with COPD, or anyone with a chronic disease, we need to personalize the on-going relationships between the care team and the person with COPD, especially in the virtual environment. The connections between everyone loved-ones, peer coaches, care managers, nurse practitioners or physicians needs to be personal, making every interaction meaningful and further guiding behavior change.”
Mr. Newman continued that by adding the importance of enabling Health Systems and ACOs to extend this experience to every person with COPD, “COPD360coach scales care teams through its asynchronous video-centric approach. Together, the Foundation and ViiMed have the opportunity to facilitate Health Systems and ACOs helping so many more people with COPD, and we are going to work hard to see that happen.”
“We are very excited to be able to offer this innovative approach to managing COPD to the healthcare community. The COPD Foundation is striving to integrate technology into care plans while at the same time retaining a personal touch. COPD360coach synthesizes best practices with clear, informative and personalized coaching,” says Mr. Walsh. “I am pleased that through our collaboration with ViiMed we can propel our mission to improving the lives of those living with this devastating disease.”
Personalized interactions support a person with COPD, while COPD360coach’s layered coordination capabilities help drive better outcomes by spotting trends before unfavorable results occur. “Being a person with COPD and a peer-coach, I am so excited to see the COPD360coach approach in action. Yes, the healthcare community needs to track outcomes and data along the journey, and COPD360coach will obviously do that through devices, education and other quantifiable methods, but to center engagement around personalized relationships between providers, peer-coaches and persons with COPD in this unique way will strengthen the necessary bond that truly changes behavior or provide that timely reinforcement outlet when it’s needed,” says Karen Erickson, Associate Executive Director of Community Engagement at the Alpha-1 Foundation.
To learn more about the COPD Foundation, visit:
To learn more about ViiMed, visit:
The COPD Foundation