BACKGROUND: Telemonitoring and telerehabilitation can support home-based pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) and benefit patients with lung diseases or COVID-19. This study aimed to (1) identify which telemonitoring and telerehabilitation interventions (e.g. videoconferencing) are used to provide telehealth care for people with chronic respiratory conditions or COVID-19, and (2) provide an overview of the effects of telemonitoring and telerehabilitation on exercise capacity, physical activity, health-related QoL (HRQoL), and healthcare use in patients with lung diseases or COVID-19.
METHODS: A search was performed in the electronic databases of Ovid MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cinahl through 15 June 2021. Subject heading and keywords were used to reflect the concepts of telemonitoring, telerehabilitation, chronic lung diseases, and COVID-19. Studies that explored the effect of a telerehabilitation and/or telemonitoring intervention, in patients with a chronic lung disease such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD), or COVID-19, and reported the effect of the intervention in one or more of our outcomes of interest were included. Excluding criteria included evaluation of new technological components, teleconsultation or one-time patient assessment.
RESULTS: This scoping review included 44 publications reporting the effect of telemonitoring (25 studies), telerehabilitation (8 studies) or both (11 studies) on patients with COPD (35 studies), asthma (5 studies), COPD and asthma (1 study), and COVID-19 (2 studies). Patients who received telemonitoring and/or telerehabilitation had improvements in exercise capacity in 9 out of 11 (82%) articles, better HRQoL in 21 out of 25 (84%), and fewer health care use in 3 out of 3 (100%) articles compared to pre-intervention. Compared to controls, no statistically significant differences were found in the intervention groups' exercise capacity in 5 out 6 (83%) articles, physical activity in 3 out of 3 (100%) articles, HRQoL in 21 out of 25 (84%) articles, and healthcare use in 15 out of 20 (75%) articles. The main limitation of the study was the high variability between the characteristics of the studies, such as the number and age of the patients, the outcome measures, the duration of the intervention, the technological components involved, and the additional elements included in the interventions that may influence the generalization of the results.
CONCLUSION: Telemonitoring and telerehabilitation interventions had a positive effect on patient outcomes and appeared to be as effective as standard care. Therefore, they are promising alternatives to support remote home-based rehabilitation in patients with chronic lung diseases or COVID-19.