Kaia Health app for COPD patients improves exercise capacity and adherence

ByLance T. Lee

May 9, 2022

The Kaia Health digital mobile app helped people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) better adhere to a physical activity plan after completing a pulmonary rehabilitation program in hospital, a study has found.

Additionally, patients who used the app for six months also saw an increase in physical performance, with less shortness of breath and fatigue.

“The results show significantly higher physical activity over a six-month period using the Kaia Health COPD app compared to the control group,” said Stephan Huber, MD, chief medical officer at Kaia Health and one of the authors. of the study. Press release.

“The Kaia Health COPD app has proven to be an innovative way to positively impact the health status of COPD patients over a longer period of time,” Huber said.

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The company is currently evaluating the performance of its mobile app with those who have not yet completed a pulmonary rehabilitation program.

“Our next goal is to demonstrate efficacy in COPD patients without prior treatment in rehabilitation in an ongoing follow-up study,” Huber said.

The study, “Use of a smartphone app maintains physical activity after pulmonary rehabilitation in patients with COPD: a randomized controlled trialwas published in the journal Thorax.

People with COPD often undergo pulmonary rehabilitation as part of their treatment plan. This includes physical training, health education classes and psychological support. Several clinical trials have shown that such pulmonary rehabilitation programs improve health-related quality of life and exercise capacity.

However, evidence also suggests that patients with COPD find it difficult to maintain physical activity and adhere to exercise plans after completion of these pulmonary rehabilitation programs.

Smartphone apps have been suggested as a way to help maintain access to rehabilitation and structured exercise. But few studies have assessed whether their regular use helps patients maintain physical activity.

“To our knowledge, this study is the first RCT [randomized controlled trial] to demonstrate maintenance of PA [physical activity] after PR in hospital [pulmonary rehabilitation] using a structured numerical program,” the researchers wrote.

The team, from Switzerland and Germany, conducted the clinical trial (DRKS00017275) to assess whether regular use of the Kaia COPD app could help patients adhere to physical activity programs after pulmonary rehabilitation.

The Kaia app includes a physical training program, breathing exercises and an educational program. It was developed by healthcare professionals and pulmonary rehabilitation experts.

A total of 67 patients with COPD, with an average age of 64 and of whom 49.3% were women, took part in the study. Each was randomly assigned to the Kaia COPD app — called an intervention group, with 33 patients — or a control group (34 participants), in which patients received standard care. All were followed for six months after completing drug rehab.

The COPD exercises included several daily full-body exercises performed for 15-20 minutes. All the exercises have been explained in videos with detailed instructions.

The main objective of the study was to assess the effectiveness of the Kaia app in helping to maintain physical activity, which was measured by the number of steps taken daily using a fitness tracker. activity.

Additional objectives included assessment of the impact of the disease on the patient’s life, as measured by the COPD Assessment Test (CAT) and the Chronic Respiratory Disease Questionnaire (CRQ), and changes in exercise capacity. These changes were assessed using the one-minute sit-to-stand test (STST).

Total CAT scores range from zero to 40, with higher scores reflecting more severe disease impact. STST measures the number of sit-stand actions a patient can perform in one minute.

A total of 60 patients completed the study. The analysis showed that the number of steps was significantly higher for COPD patients in the intervention group compared to those in the control group after six months.

Additionally, while CAT scores decreased in the Kaia app group after six months—indicating less severe disease—they increased in the control group by 3.7 points from baseline (line basic).

Shortness of breath and fatigue were significantly alleviated in patients who used the app.

The number of sit-stand actions in the STST increased significantly in the intervention group after three months compared to the control group. However, no difference was observed after six months.

“Of course, we were very pleased with these positive study results, but we weren’t surprised,” said Rembert Koczulla, consultant pulmonologist at Kaia Health and co-author of the study. “With Kaia Health, six-month inpatient rehabilitation success was maintained to the greatest extent during the study.”

According to Koczulla, the results underscore that, at least, “mild improvements with symptoms can be achieved.”

Of the participants, 13 (43%) were considered frequent users, meaning they used the app at least four times a week for at least 70% of the weeks in the study.

Further analysis looking at this single group of patients showed an even greater difference in primary focus compared to controls.

Overall, “this study reveals how a digital intervention can be used to complement existing care by filling gaps in the existing healthcare landscape,” the researchers wrote.

“We are excited about the potential that the Kaia Health COPD app can bring to the United States, which adds another layer of support to our mission to make clinically validated and cost-effective digital therapies accessible anytime, anywhere and for anyone,” said Nigel Ohrenstein, President. from Kaia Health.

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