New AI app successfully reduces symptoms of COPD

Clinical study reveals Kaia COPD app has clinically-significant benefit in patients' Health-Related Quality of Life scores

The app has been found to help patients better manage their illness

A peer-reviewed clinical study has shown that a new artificial intelligence (AI) app can successfully reduce symptoms of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

The results of the study, entitled Digitalizing multidisciplinary pulmonary rehabilitation in COPD with a smartphone application: an international observational pilot study, have been published in the International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

And they show that users who completed 20 therapy days with the COPD app, developed by developed by Kaia Health, had a clinically-significant benefit in their Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQL) scores, a medical marker of perceived physical health.

After this short period, the digital intervention improved their scores in other areas, including emotion, mastery, and fatigue. This suggests that a multi-disciplinary digital treatment can contribute to improvements in important areas of successfully self-managing COPD after a short course.

COPD is an umbrella term to describe chronic lung diseases that cause limitations in lung airflow.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 64 million people are diagnosed with COPD and it will be the third-leading cause of death worldwide by 2030.

This clinical study indicates that, by digitising therapy, we can democratise access to effective COPD treatment globally which can be administered in the comfort of a patient’s home

Unlike traditional inpatient therapies, the Kaia COPD app is widely accessible, which means more people can benefit.

The digital treatment combines physiotherapy, psychosocial support and patient education, resulting in effective and affordable pulmonary rehabilitation in the comfort of a patient's home.

The app follows an approach that addresses physical and psychological factors of the disease.

The content is based on clinically-validated patient guidelines and allows patients to better self-manage their COPD.

The app includes video-based AI physiotherapy which offers exercises to help patients build muscle and promote a healthy cardiovascular system, while a machine learning algorithm adjusts the support based on each patient’s disease profile.

Psychosocial support provides audio-based relaxation exercises to manage anxiety and depression. Patients can also contact a coach via the app who will answer app-specific questions and offer motivation.

Patient education, covering topics ranging from breathing and coughing techniques to nutrition and the impact of air pollution, is also provided.

And medication tracking alerts the patient when medication is due with video instructions to perfect the inhalation technique for all commonly-prescribed inhalers, a necessity as up to 60% of COPD patients do not adhere to their medication correctly.

Konstantin Mehl, founder and chief executive of Kaia Health, said: “Conventional rehabilitation as a treatment for COPD is expensive and resource-intense, particularly in developed countries with a rapidly-ageing population and huge healthcare costs - which makes it difficult to integrate in health care systems.

“Therefore it is underutilised, even though international guidelines recommend its widespread use.

“This clinical study indicates that, by digitising therapy, we can democratise access to effective COPD treatment globally which can be administered in the comfort of a patient’s home. This will empower patients to take control and self manage their COPD with evidenced-based, non-pharmacological, affordable alternatives.”