How to Follow CF Patients on New Treatments During Lockdown

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We sat down with Dr. Paola Iacotucci and physiotherapist Serena Buonaurio to hear about their experience with remote patient monitoring at the Centro di Riferimento Regionale Adult CF Center in Naples, Italy.

How has the NuvoAir platform been working for you and your patients?

The platform has been very helpful for us during the lockdown. The first 24 patients we started with have been happy to participate, and we will soon onboard an additional 24 patients. We have eager patients that are waiting to get started!

We find that the quality is absolutely comparable. When patients come to the clinic, we compare their NuvoAir results to the office spirometry. A lot of patients in this group have started new CFTR modulator treatments and it’s extremely important for us to follow their lung function from home, so the quality of the data is crucial.

What has been the feedback from your patients?

Patients feel closely followed by us. We think they are also encouraged to take care of themselves a little better. In a recent survey conducted with our patients using the platform, all respondents (n=8) agreed or strongly agreed that they feel confident in their ability to perform home spirometry tests with NuvoAir and that it is helpful to be able to monitor their respiratory health from home.

We are happy to share that many patients using the platform are on new biologic treatments and are doing well! When we see improvements in their spirometry results, we immediately send them an encouraging message via text, SMS, or WhatsApp.

How do you onboard your patients to the technology?

Mostly our patients are onboarded to the technology by phone or video call. We explain how to do their first spirometry test and ask them to bring their device to their next clinic appointment so we can observe their spirometry with NuvoAir and coach them, if needed. There are a few differences in technique from our office spirometry that we may have to explain further. Our patients haven’t generally had problems getting started with the app, they are able to figure it out for themselves.

Do you have any advice for other clinics using the platform?

We have learned to be mindful of treatment burden when asking patients to do anything new. As some adult patients may be weary of this, we don’t start off by prescribing how often they must take lung function tests. We provide them with the tool and give them flexibility to decide themselves as we support them along the way. Our recommendation, however, is to take home tests monthly and when specifically asked for.

Also, some patients who are not doing well may have high anxiety about seeing low results. It’s important to be sensitive to this when thinking through your strategy and communication around home spirometry with these patients.

In general, our patients and team really appreciate NuvoAir, which has allowed us to provide care to our patients through the difficult COVID-19 pandemic. We hope that other clinics can benefit from this platform as well, both during the pandemic and beyond.