For the COPD patient an acute exacerbation is signalled by sustained symptom worsening that has a detrimental impact on quality of life and the activities of daily living. Unreported exacerbations are often associated with delays in treatment and to the extent that early treatment improves recovery it is important to find ways that promote early recognition and prompt access to treatment.
Best practice guidelines state that the COPD patient be provided with a written action plan setting out what to do when the signs of an exacerbation appear. TelASSIST is a patient engagement platform designed to strengthen the connection between nurse case managers and their respective COPD patients and improve the likelihood early reporting of exacerbations.
The system uses a schedule of outbound calls to patients designed to look for any indication of the onset of a potential exacerbation and remind them to follow the action plan prepared for them in clinic. Patients are also able to call in to the automated system to report worsening symptoms and raise an alert for their case manager. A web based dashboard gives the case manager a view over the current self reported conditions of all the patients they are managing. The system helps assure rapid access for patients to their case managers in the event of exacerbation onset. COPD TelASSIST was developed in collaboration with Dr. Jean Bourbeau and colleagues at the Montreal Chest Clinic. It is currently being tested with all patients there and is the subject of a clinical study.
COPD TelASSIST gives patients peace of mind. They appreciate the fact that the system is staying in touch with them between conversations with their case manager. It automatically checks in with them to ask how they are doing and to remind them to follow their action plan.
COPD TelASSIST provides case managers a real time overview of how their panel of patients report they are feeling and enables them to focus their attention on those who are having more serious difficulties and are in need of help.