Study to see if phone consultation can help respiratory patients use oxygen

Researchers at the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System have been awarded a 3-year, $2 million contract from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to create a peer-led education and support program to improve the use of supplemental oxygen prescribed to patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD.

Dr. Jerry Krishnan

Dr. Jerry Krishnan, professor of pulmonary care and associate vice president of health affairs at UI Health.

The project is led by Dr. Jerry Krishnan, professor of pulmonary care in the UIC College of Medicine and associate vice president of health affairs at UI Health.

“Using O2 can prolong life and increase quality of life, but patients often do not use their oxygen as prescribed, which means that they are not benefiting as much as they could be from this therapy,” said Krishnan.

Doctors often prescribe supplemental oxygen for patients with COPD, but compliance is poor, data from focus groups show. Reasons cited by patients include lack of information regarding its benefits, embarrassment about using an oxygen tank in public, and fear of becoming “addicted” to oxygen.

Researchers will meet with groups of patients with COPD who use oxygen, and their caregivers, to develop information that trained peer-coaches can provide over the phone. The intervention is known as PEer-Led O2 Infoline for patients and Caregivers, or PELICAN. Krishnan expects PELICAN to increase use of supplemental oxygen among COPD patients and improve their overall health outcomes.

The researchers will compare the effectiveness of PELICAN delivered proactively (peer-coaches will call patients) or reactively (patients have the option of calling the coaches themselves), to patients receiving only written self-help materials.

“The peer coaches will help patients improve their self-management skills, and can answer questions and provide support for using supplemental oxygen,” Krishnan said. “The long-term goal is to help patients use their oxygen as prescribed so they can be as healthy as possible.”

Collaborating institutions and organizations include the COPD Foundation, AlphaNet Foundation, National Jewish Health, UCLA-Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute and Apria Healthcare.

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