For more than 30 years, Independence Plus, Inc. (IPI) has provided the best homecare to medically complex, ventilator-dependent patients. Over the years, many of those patients have been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a progressive condition that makes it difficult to breathe.
An estimated 30 million individuals in the U.S. are affected by COPD, and over half of them suffer from symptoms and do not know they have the disease. Left untreated or treated inappropriately, COPD will progress, ultimately leaving patients dependent on a tracheostomy tube, and, eventually ventilator.
While damage to the lungs from COPD cannot be reversed, there is good news for those who are diagnosed early – COPD is a treatable disease. The key is early screening to diagnose COPD before major loss of lung function occurs.
The bad news – very few patients are informed that COPD is treatable, and, currently few than 10% of people diagnosed with COPD have access to the single most effective treatment to manage its symptoms and progression – pulmonary rehabilitation.
November is National COPD Awareness Month, and it is internationally-recognized annually to enhance exposure of the disease. At IPI, we are using this month to shine a light on a company that is working to offer hope and a brighter future to those suffering with COPD by expanding access to respiratory care and changing the way people view the diagnosis.
ModoSpira is a Chicago-based disease management company that has taken a proven intervention program and developed an online version, making it accessible, affordable and sustainable – the three primary obstacles of traditional pulmonary rehabilitation.
Troy Monthye, ModoSpira’s Co-Founder and CEO, stated that they are working with some of the most prestigious academic centers and health systems in the country with the ultimate goal of providing customized rehabilitative exercise, self-management training, and behavioral and psychosocial support to every person in the U.S. living with COPD.
“The state of disease awareness around COPD is poor. People see it as a death sentence when they are first diagnosed, and stop doing things that cause breathlessness. Before long, they stop doing everything, even leaving their homes, for fear of increasing their symptoms,” Monthye said. “Patients who lose the ability to breathe are understandably terrified and they often give up after they are diagnosed with this disease. It’s our goal to reorient them to the fact that they can decrease the negative impact COPD has on their lives, and offer them the tools necessary to retain or resume an active life.”
The idea for a digitally-accessible program was brought to life by ModoSpira’s Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer Ravi Kalhan, MD, MS, because he believed that it would have the ability to impact the most people. Dr. Kalhan, who has devoted his entire career to the advancement of treatment and research in COPD, serves as director of the Northwestern University Asthma and COPD Program and medical director of the pulmonary rehabilitation program at the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab (previously known as Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago). According to his bio, “these experiences have formed the basis for what ModoSpira provides to patients…evidence-based therapies proven to engage patients and improve their symptoms and self-efficacy.”
Monthye has assembled a zealous team at ModoSpira; and they are genuinely dedicated to changing lives. Among the team is IPI’s founder and former CEO Tamara Müller, who stepped down from her role in December 2016 to dedicate more time to outside projects related to respiratory care. She remains IPI’s Chairman of the Board and also serves as Chairman of ModoSpira.
“Tami has had a lifelong passion for improving care for people with COPD. At IPI she was providing a great service for patients who were at advanced stages of this disease. Her role at ModoSpira is one example of the innovative concepts she is advocating to better the lives of people with respiratory diseases, especially those at earlier stages when their quality of life can be preserved,” Monthye said.
After three years of designing, testing, redesigning, enhancing, and finally launching the program, ModoSpira conducted their demonstration pilot in 2016; and they achieved comparable or better outcomes in patient participation, symptom improvement, and quality of life measures as facilities-based programs. The ultimate goal, Monthye adds, is to get this product out to every person who is diagnosed with COPD, because it is something that can significantly benefit people at all stages of the disease.
“Every day we are changing the lives of people who have suffered from COPD symptoms, often for years. People who couldn’t walk down a driveway due to symptoms from COPD are now out walking, biking, visiting the gym, and playing with their grandchildren again,” he said. “We offer solutions for as little as $5 a month, so it’s very cost-effective. If you can make it affordable and accessible you can manage to help a lot of people, and that’s really what this is all about.”
For more information on ModoSpira, visit www.modospira.com.
To learn more about COPD, visit The COPD Foundation at www.copdfoundation.org.