The funding will be used to study whether home-based pulmonary rehabilitation improves quality of life and could decrease hospitalization in Hispanic patients with moderate to severe Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
“There is a great disparity in the services that are offered and used by Hispanic patients with COPD,” said Renee Pekmezaris, PhD, VP of Community Health and Health Services Research at Northwell Health and Co-Principal Investigator of the study.
The study aims to enroll 276 Hispanic COPD patients. Half of the patients will be referred to a standard pulmonary rehabilitation program and the other half will receive pulmonary rehabilitation via telehealth in their home.
The telehealth arm of the study will include a stationary exercise bike and a tablet for patients to use for their remote online rehabilitation sessions with a Spanish-speaking respiratory therapist. The therapist will go through exercises with at least four patients in their own homes at each session.
They will be coached one-on-one via videos on computer tablets. The study will assess whether telehealth will led to better outcomes, including reduced subsequent hospitalizations and the use of telehealth will be compared to standard rehab program referrals.
In organizing the study, researchers teamed up with a local Hispanic couple with COPD to provide insights helpful to the design of the study. This research team will include an experts in outreach and community health such as pulmonologists, a respiratory therapist with pulmonary rehabilitation expertise, a biostatistician, and an expert qualitative researcher.
Also, members of El Poder de Decidir, a community-based organization in Queens N.Y is working to empower Hispanic people to make informed decisions about their health as part of the program.
According to Negin Hajizadeh M.D, Principal Investigator of the study, “Working with patients and community leaders who have personal experience managing COPD in the Hispanic community, ensures that the study is designed to be practical and acceptable to the Hispanic population”.