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COVID-19 | Remote care

Using remote communication to care for people with COPD during the COVID-19 pandemic

We explored good practice in using remote communication to deliver care for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in secondary and specialty community settings. We found consensus across clinicians and people with COPD that five areas of specialty COPD care can be delivered well remotely.


The COVID-19 pandemic adds to the challenges of providing healthcare for people with COPD. This study aimed to understand remote communication in the delivery of specialty care for COPD, and to identify and agree on good practices. We explored which activities were being conducted remotely to provide care for people with COPD through specialty community services and secondary care to understand what works well and what could be improved.


A survey of people with COPD and clinicians delivering specialty COPD care gathered views on remote communication when delivering specialty care to people with COPD.

Participants then helped us to identify priorities for improving remote consultations. We analysed responses using a consensus-building exercise. Fourteen care activities were rated for appropriateness.

The project was undertaken on THIS Institute’s online research platform, Thiscovery. Nineteen people with COPD and 55 clinicians took part in the survey; 20 people with COPD and 23 clinicians took part in the consensus-building exercise.


We considered patients and clinicians’ views of remote care and found that information-based planned care activities and urgent care activities were broadly seen as appropriate for remote care. However activities that required specialised equipment tended not to be seen as appropriate. Across several activities, clinicians were more confident than people with COPD that remote care was appropriate. Both groups identified advantages and limitations of remote care, especially where communication was by telephone only.

Funding and ethics

This study is funded by the Health Foundation’s grant to The Healthcare Improvement Studies Institute (THIS Institute). It is independently led by THIS Institute.

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