Real life uptake of Virtual Pulmonary Rehabilitation (VPR) in chronic lung disease

Title: Real life uptake of Virtual Pulmonary Rehabilitation (VPR) in chronic lung disease
Author(s): A O' Mahony P Tonge C Kelly S O' Beirne
Institution: SVUH
Poster: Click to view poster
Category: Asthma and COPD
Abstract: The practicality of outpatient based pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) for patients with chronic lung disease in the era of SARS-CoV-2 is limited, with virtual pulmonary rehabilitation (VPR) proposed as an alternative. We assessed the real-life feasibility of VPR in our cohort of patients awaiting PR including barriers relevant to widespread adoption of telemedicine for chronic lung disease management.
A telephone survey of patients referred for PR was performed including questions related to patient preferences for standard outpatient vs virtual PR, digital literacy and internet access.
Seventy-six patients were included, 51.3% (n=39) were female, mean age was 67.3±10.3 years. The majority (82.9%, n=63) had COPD. Overall 46% (n=35) agreed in principle to VPR, however, of these, only 32.9% (n=25) had the technological skills and resources to support it and only 8 would actually prefer virtual over standard outpatient PR. Patients who declined VPR (n=41) cited digital illiteracy/resources, personal preference and physical barriers as reasons. Overall, only 27.6% (n=21) would and could participate in VPR.
The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has led to a rapid shift in healthcare delivery with moves towards telehealth. However, concerningly in a real world setting, these changes are challenging, with many patients’ unable to independently engage with these services.