Partnership Promotes Virtual Pulmonary Rehab Program During Pandemic

Diana Campelo Delgado avatar

by Diana Campelo Delgado |

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The COPD Foundation and Blue Marble Health have partnered to promote pulmonary rehabilitation through a virtual program for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We hope to enable participation and maximize the benefits of virtual pulmonary rehabilitation by providing a community that encourages participants to adhere to the [pulmonary rehabilitation] program and maintain a healthy lifestyle,” Ruth Tal-Singer, PhD, the foundation’s president and chief scientific officer, said in a press release.

Although there is no cure yet for COPD, lifestyle changes and treatments can be effective at managing its symptoms. One option is pulmonary rehabilitation, a program that incorporates exercise regimens, nutritional guidance, education about the disease, and psychological counseling.

Such programs are designed to improve patients’ overall physical and mental health, shorten and lessen hospitalizations, and reduce their overall mortality risk. They are recommended by healthcare professionals and have been shown to benefit COPD patients, improving their physical and psychological well-being, as well as their quality of life.

However, despite their proven effectiveness, these programs remain underutilized. Moreover, with the temporary closure of many clinics in the U.S. due to the pandemic, even fewer people with lung disease now have access to such programs.

Therefore, the aim of this peer-supported virtual program is to increase access, availability, adherence, and engagement by offering pulmonary rehabilitation to COPD patients from the safety of their own homes.

“We believe that our Platform along with the COPDF’s COPD360coach platform will ensure clinics can provide [pulmonary rehabilitation] during COVID-19 and beyond to meet the needs of the millions of people who could benefit,” said Sheryl Flynn, PhD, CEO of Blue Marble Health.

Launched in 2015, the COPD360coach platform is an interactive mobile and website application for health education, coaching, and wellness monitoring for COPD patients. It is designed to supplement other COPD management options, by putting patients in contact with peer coaches, who provide health coaching based on educational content presented by clinicians and other patients.

Blue Marble Health is a remote monitoring platform for healthy living that supports onsite and home-based telehealth and care management for COPD and other chronic conditions. Its virtual pulmonary rehabilitation platform is designed to allow clinicians to remotely develop, monitor, and track personalized programs at the individual and group level.