The TELEKAT research and innovation project focuses on developing new preventive care and treatment methods for chronic patients in their own homes utilizing telehomecare technology.

There are currently about 300,000 Danes who have been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which is a chronic infection of the lungs (Sundhedsstyrelsen 2007). Patients suffering from COPD experience a weakened, pulmonary function, and the body?s other organs are significantly burdened. This patient group belongs to the group of the five most resource-demanding illnesses in Denmark.

The disease accounts for 20% of all emergency admissions to the medical wards. After being admitted, COPD patients often have many bed-days and a re-admission frequency of about 24% within a month. COPD patients with serious symptoms suffer from significant limitations in their everyday life because of breathing difficulty in any activity and even at rest (Eriksen, Hansen and Munck 2003). The effect of medical treatment is limited, and many COPD patients must live with reduced level of functions, inactivity, frustration and social isolation. It is important to break this negative spiral of well-being and increase the patients? quality of life.

Patient groups are now offered rehabilitation when the clinical symptoms reach a level where they limit the patient?s level of function and quality of life. Rehabilitation includes physical training, instruction about the disease, nutrition, lung physiotherapy, assistance to stop smoking, etc. and typically occurs as courses of some weeks? duration away from the home. There is evidence that the rehabilitation has a positive effect for the patients immediately after the rehabilitation process (Sundhedstyrelsen 2007). The question is: How can the rehabilitation offerings be developed to also take place in the patient?s own home as an integrated part of everyday life in order to halt this negative spiral of well-being?

User-driven innovation as point of departure

With a point of departure in user-driven innovation (von Hippel 2005), we will develop the possibility that COPD patients, assisted by telehomecare technology, can undertake self-monitoring of their disease process and conduct and maintain their own rehabilitation in their own home. Telehomecare technology involves care and treatment conducted across sectoral boundaries using information and communication technology (Dinesen 2007). The users in the project are understood to be COPD patients (serious and moderate levels), their family members and health professionals.


Dinesen B. 2007. Implementation of telehomecare technology - impact on chronically ill patients, healthcare professionals and the healthcare system. Ph.D. thesis, Center for Sensory-Motor Interaction  Department of Health Science and Technology & Department of Development and Planning Aalborg University.

Eriksen, N., Hansen, E.F., Munch, E.P. et al. 2003. Kroniske obstruktiv lungesygdom - indlæggelse, forløb og prognose. Ugeskrift for Læger; 165: 3499-502.

Hippel von, E. 2005. Democratizing Innovation. MIT Press Cambridge.

Sundhedsstyrelsen. 2007. KOL-kronisk obstruktiv lungesygdom. Anbefaling for tidlig opsporing, opfølgning, behandling og rehabilitering. Sundhedsstyrelsen 2007. [].