JMIR Research Protocols

A telemonitoring and hybrid virtual coaching solution “CAir” for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: Protocol for a randomized controlled trial

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Background: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one of the most common disorders in the world. COPD is characterized by airflow obstruction, which is not fully reversible. Patients usually experience breathing-related symptoms with periods of acute worsening and a substantial decrease in the health-related quality-of-life. Active and comprehensive disease management can slow down the progressive course of the disease and improve patients’ disabilities. Technological progress and digitalization of medicine have the potential to make elaborate interventions easily accessible and applicable to a broad spectrum of patients with COPD without increasing the costs of the intervention. Objective: This study aims to develop a comprehensive telemonitoring and hybrid virtual coaching solution and to investigate its effects on the health-related quality of life of patients with COPD. Methods: A monocentric, assessor-blind, two-arm (intervention/control) randomized controlled trial will be performed. Participants randomized to the control group will receive usual care and a CAir Desk (custom-built home disease-monitoring device to telemonitor disease-relevant parameters) for 12 weeks, without feedback or scores of the telemonitoring efforts and virtual coaching. Participants randomized to the intervention group will receive a CAir Desk and a hybrid digital coaching intervention for 12 weeks. As a primary outcome, we will measure the delta in the health-related quality of life, which we will assess with the St. George Respiratory Questionnaire, from baseline to week 12 (the end of the intervention). Results: The development of the CAir Desk and virtual coach has been completed. Recruitment to the trial started in September 2020. We expect to start data collection by December 2020 and expect it to last for approximately 18 months, as we follow a multiwave approach. We expect to complete data collection by mid-2022 and plan the dissemination of the results subsequently. Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is the first study investigating a combination of telemonitoring and hybrid virtual coaching in patients with COPD. We will investigate the effectiveness, efficacy, and usability of the proposed intervention and provide evidence to further develop app-based and chatbot-based disease monitoring and interventions in COPD.