The Utility of Electronic Inhaler Monitoring in COPD Management

Promises and Challenges
Published:January 22, 2020DOI:
      COPD is a common respiratory disorder that poses a major health-care burden with societal and financial ramifications. Although effective inhaled therapies are available, nonadherence is common among patients with COPD and potentially contributes to the burden of this disease. Electronic inhaler monitoring (EIM) is a novel modality that enables real-time assessment of adherence to inhaled therapy and informs the assessment of treatment effectiveness. EIM can be combined with physician feedback, automated audiovisual reminders, and text messaging to bolster adherence. Clinical studies have suggested that EIM can diagnose nonadherence, improve adherence, and predict exacerbations. Using an EIM-guided protocol has the potential to avoid treatment escalation in the nonadherent. Coupling EIM to behavioral intervention is an area of ongoing research with mixed results, with some studies showing benefit and others showing minimal or no significant change in clinical outcomes. Further investigation is necessary to understand the incremental benefits of EIM features, delineate optimal program implementation, and target patient populations that would benefit the most from monitoring.

      Key Words


      AVR (audiovisual reminder), EIM (electronic inhaler monitoring), EMD (electronic monitoring device), HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996), IE (intensive education), INCA (Inhaler Compliance Assessment), RCT (randomized controlled trial), SABA (short-acting β₂ agonist)
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