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Personalised interventions to improve inhaler technique improves health and saves money


Offering personalised interventions to high risk patients with COPD to enhance their inhaler technique could both improve health outcomes and save around £748 a year, say researchers.

The exploratory cost effectiveness analysis, published in NPJ Primary Care Respiratory Medicine, assessed the potential economic benefits of improving adherence in three clusters of patients with suboptimal adherence.

This study is the first to estimate the cost-effectiveness of interventions in different inhaler adherence clusters. The researchers say this information is needed because real-world adherence to maintenance therapy can be as low as 20%. Previous studies have shown that patients with high adherence have significantly better clinical and economic outcomes.

The clusters categorised for improvement were patients with: regular use/frequent technique errors; irregular use/good technique; and irregular use/frequent technique errors.

The researchers tracked patient adherence over five years using a smart device able to track both timing and quality of inhaler use.

Interventions could include education and training on inhaler technique for those with frequent technique errors, patient reminders for those with irregular use due to forgetfulness, and shared decision-making.

The researchers conclude: “In all clusters, interventions seem cost-effective. Moreover, in patients with irregular use but good inhaler technique, a possible cost-saving of €845 (£748) /annum/person could be yielded despite the higher cost of medication arising from better adherence.”

You can refresh your inhaler technique at a hands-on workshop run in conjunction with Education for Health at the PCRS-UK conference Building Confidence in a Changing World. 28-29 September, The International Centre, Telford.