The COPD Health Forecasting service warns patients with COPD during winter when they are at elevated risk of illness due to changes in weather conditions and status of circulatory respiratory infections. The system contacts all registered COPD patients by automatic voice phone calls at a chosen time, warns the patients of the conditions expected, advises them to take appropriate action and collects information about their condition . The service also includes a patient pack to inform the patients, and provides statistical data on the calls to the health care provider. Finally, patient feedback on the service to evaluate the outcome will be provided through a written questionnaire or an automated patient query. The service is developed by Medixine ltd and is based on UK Met Office research and forecasting algorithms.
The aim of the service is to: 1) improve anticipatory and preventive actions in treating COPD, 2) improve the patients' quality of life, 3) decrease the amount exacerbations, uncontrolled GP visits and hospital admissions and 4) cut overall COPD-related health care costs.
During the winter of 08-09 over 20.000 COPD patients participated in the service in the UK and the expected number for the winter -09/-10 will be over 40.000 patients. According to the patient query executed in April -09 (over 8000 replies) 90% of the patients experienced the service to be useful and 36% had seen a decrease in hospital visits In a controlled pilot with 500 COPD patients in Cornwall (-06/-07) the hospital admissions of patients receiving the service decreased by 54% compared to an equivalent number of patients not receiving the service.
STUDY / RESULTS FINLAND In Finland the service has been studied during the winter of-08-09 as a clinical study, headed by Prof. Olli Polo at the University of Tampere. Patients in the intervention group (n=260) had in comparison to patients in the control group (n=260) less exacerbations, hospital admissions and GP visits. More detailed results of this study will be presented.