Cough Monitoring

Remote Cough Monitoring In COPD

May 15, 2024

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) incurs billions in medical expenditures annually, with acute exacerbations and subsequent hospitalizations being significant cost drivers. At-home cough monitoring is a promising innovation with the potential to reshape this landscape.
This analysis examines the cost-effectiveness of cough monitoring systems for early detection of COPD exacerbations. The findings are:

  • 📈 45% of acute exacerbations can be predicted with a lead time of 3.4 days and a low false positive rate
  • 💰 Potential annual savings of millions of dollars for healthcare providers, and billions for the health system by significantly reducing hospitalizations
  • 💹 An impressive 132% Return On Investment

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New COPD Research

COPD Monitoring

This comprehensive paper provides an overview of the costs and benefits of COPD monitoring, including a cost-benefit analysis. The paper also discusses the potential for cost savings by using at-home COPD monitoring to prevent or reduce the severity of an exacerbation.

The paper calculates the cost-benefit analysis of implementing a cough-monitoring system for COPD, considering direct costs and the probability of correctly predicting exacerbations. It excludes non-financial benefits and indirect health outcomes.

Analysis reveals significant savings from timely intervention and prevented hospitalizations. Sensitivity analysis shows the program remains highly profitable even with variations in detection rates, costs of care, and prevention rates.

Cough monitoring for COPD is very cost-effective, offering substantial economic returns and potential benefits in preventing readmissions and improving patient quality of life.

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COPD's High Economic and Social Burden

  • COPD was the third leading cause of death worldwide in 2019, accounting for 3.23 million deaths or 5.8% of global deaths​​.
  • Over 150,000 Americans die from COPD each year, about one death every 4 minutes.
  • The highest percentage of COPD deaths occur in the 75-79 age group​​.
  • COPD is more prevalent in women (7.1%) than in men (5.7%), with more women dying from COPD than men in 2020​​.
  • In 2019, COPD led to 536,000 hospitalizations and 1.32 million emergency department visits in the US​​.
  • The individual costs for COPD treatment vary widely, with specialist-care costs ranging from $2,500 to +$15,000, and GP-care-only costs from $1,500 to $6,000.

Sources: COPD Statistics & Facts in the US (2023); COPD Trends Brief - Burden | American Lung Association; COPD Costs (

How Can Remote Monitoring Help COPD Patients?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, makes breathing difficult for the 16 million Americans who suffer from it. In addition to the high prevalence, COPD has no cure, and the high rate of hospital admissions (and re-admissions) associated with the condition have an estimated cost of more than $50 billion annually in the US alone. Out of this, more than $13 billion are direct medical costs.

It is essential to identify acute COPD exacerbations early or prior to their occurrence to improve the wellbeing of those living with COPD and reduce the economic costs of re/admissions. COPD remote patient monitoring uses technology to monitor a patient’s health outside of a traditional healthcare setting. COPD remote patient monitoring has the potential to keep high-risk patients healthy while minimizing unnecessary procedures and costs associated with in-patient care and monitoring.

The key symptom in effective COPD remote patient monitoring is cough. In addition to being one of the first signs of COPD, an increase in cough rate is a telltale early sign of an acute COPD exacerbation. Until recently, unlike temperature, blood pressure, pulse, etc. cough was not objectively measured or quantified, even for patients with conditions where cough is an extremely important indicator health. However, that has changed. Recent advances in wearable technology and AI have made automated cough detection and symptom quantification possible.

Remote Patient Monitoring Can Help Predict Exacerbations Early

Cough monitoring can identify an acute COPD exacerbation 3.4 days ahead of time by noting an increase in cough frequency above a patient's individual baseline. An alert can be made to a healthcare provider, who can provide preventative care. The substantial lead time increases the chances the exacerbation can be avoided altogether. This means better health outcomes for patients, but also fewer hospital admissions and emergency room visits, better and more equitable accessibility to preventive care, more targeted interventions, and significantly lower overall health system costs.

Cough Monitoring with Hyfe

Hyfe ( builds software that detects coughing via audio analysis on phones, watches, wearables, and other devices with mics. Cough detection is fully automated, using AI algorithms trained on the sounds of coughs of tens of thousands of individuals. Since the system runs fully on-device, no audio data is sent to servers, thereby ensuring full patient privacy. By using Hyfe’s technology to detect and quantify cough, healthcare organizations seeking to roll out or improve COPD remote patient monitoring can improve outcomes and cut costs.

More Insights on Preventing COPD Exacerbations:

Imagine a World In Which Monitoring Cough Frequency can Predict and Prevent COPD Exacerbations

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