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COPD light touch

‘Light Touch’ telemonitoring for people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) in Lothian.

This study evaluated the NHS Lothian Light Touch Service which was set up following the Telescot COPD randomised controlled trial which indicated that routine monitoring of data by clinicians may not be necessary for all patients. 

The Telescot team received funding to evaluate the acceptability, perceived utility and impact of this service, thereby maximising the existing collaboration with NHS Lothian eHealth and allied health professionals, while developing our research focus in line with UK wide service developments.

Doctor reviewing notes on clipboard


This research has been completed and has reported to NHS Lothian who intend to extend light-touch monitoring across Lothian and a recent report to Scottish government has advocated a similar approach.

This observational study showed that self-monitoring of COPD using a symptom score and pulse oximeter to self-manage, with easy access to clinicians to discuss problems if needed, was very popular with patients.

In contrast to the COPD telehealth trial, there was no apparent rise in contacts with clinicians and indeed a suggestion that consultation rates had fallen.

Although, it is difficult to draw firm conclusions given that this was not a controlled trial, the outcome was positive and has led to adoption of this approach by NHS Lothian.


Oximetry-supported self-management for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: mixed method feasibility pilot project (BMC Health Services Research, 2015)

Poster summarising the results:


Funder Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation
Chief Investigator Professor Hilary Pinnock
Study researchers Michele MacNab and Siew Lee