Telerehabilitation of Patients with COPD

About the project

In Tromso, Norway, from 2012-2014, a pilot study was completed of tele-rehabilitation of patients with the lung disease Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) using the treadmill at home, oxygen measurement, electronic dialogue and video conferencing between the partients and a physiotherapist. The study has shown positive results in preventing readmissions and providing better quality of life for patients with moderate, severe or very severe COPD. Based on this pilot study, the iTrain project is a study of three health centers in three countries, focusing on tele-rehabilitation of COPD patients in their own homes over a two-year period. The study will be carried out simultaneously in Denmark, Norway and Australia. The objective is to compare three types of rehabilitation for patients with COPD in Norway, Australia and Denmark.

In Denmark, the study is being conducted as a collaboration between the Esbjerg Health Center, the Pulmonary Medicine Department of Southwest Jutland Hospital and Aalborg University. The project has been approved by the North Jutland Research Ethics Committee, the Danish Data Protection Agency and is being implemented in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki.

Target group

The target population for the study consists of patients with moderate, severe or very severe COPD.

Three types are rehabilitation compared

Group A: Tele-rehabilitation program

This group of subjects will participate in a telerehabilitation program. The subject must exercise in their own home on a treadmill and measure their blood oxygen saturation. The subject will also be given access to a portal with the possibility to view their own measurements, talk to a physiotherapist electronically and hold video conferences with a physiotherapist via a tablet computer while exercizing. There will also be an opportunity to participate in video conferences with other participating subjects in the project during the home workout. The subject will be affiliated with the Esbjerg Health Center, and a physiotherapist will work with the subject to develop an individualized training program. The training program consists of interval and maintenance exercises on the treadmill and strength exercises. The subject should do 3 hours per week of interval or maintenance training on the treadmill, with sessions of 30-60 minutes. Every evening, the trial participant will measure their blood oxygen saturation level, pulse rate and answer questions about their general health via tablet computer. A physiotherapist at the Esbjerg Health Center will give feedback to the test subject on the data transmitted and the work exercises in general.

Group B: Training at home

This group will exercise in their own homes on the treadmill. The subjects are affiliated with the Esbjerg Health Center, and a physiotherapist works with the individual subjects to develop an individual training program that is given to them on paper. The training program consists of interval and maintenance training on the treadmill and strength exercises. The participating subjects must exercise on the treadmill for 3 hours per week of either interval or maintenance training, in sessions of 30-60 minutes. After the subject has been learned how to use the equipment, he or she becomes responsible for their own daily exercise routine.

Group C: Traditional rehabilitation program

This group participates in the traditional rehabilitation program for patients with COPD run by the Esbjerg Health Center.

The aim is to compare groups A, B & C on the parameters of readmissions, perceived quality of life, coping with illness, perceived benefits of patient education and use of health services between the different rehabilitation types.

Video and further information

See TV features on TV Syd (in Danish).

Read more (in Norwegian) at Nasjonalt Senter for e-Helseforskning, Norway: Langsiktig og helhetlig telerehabilitering av KOLS-pasienter. En multisenter randomisert kontrollert studie.

iTrain Publikation

You can read more about iTrain in this brochure (in Danish).


The study was initiated by the project manager Paolo Zanaboni, Ph.D., Norwegian Centre for E-health Research, University Hospital of North Norway, Tromsø, Norway. The project is funded by the Norwegian Research Council with a total budget of 6 million NOK.


Professor Birthe Dinesen
Email: bid(at)