Wellinks and Hartford HealthCare today announced a pioneering, clinical research study that examines the impact of Wellinks’ integrated, virtual management solution on patients transitioning to the home after being hospitalized for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Wellinks – a healthcare company offering the first-ever integrated, virtual COPD management solution – is partnering with Hartford HealthCare, a healthcare system with more than 400 locations across Connecticut, to evaluate whether utilization of Wellinks’ solution for COPD can reduce the rate of hospital readmission. The study will also measure patients’ engagement and satisfaction with the program.

Hartford HealthCare is uniquely positioned to bring this new, proven care to the community due to its well-developed innovation ecosystem. Hartford HealthCare Innovation focuses on key areas that improve the lives of people in the communities it serves. This includes improving access to care, creating more affordable solutions, improving quality of care and bringing health equity to all. The organization relies heavily on the strength of clinical mentors and deeply-rooted academic research expertise, working with respected partners and promising companies from the region and around the world to move health care forward.

The Wellinks solution combines virtual pulmonary rehabilitation, personalized health coaching and monitoring through connected devices and a patient-friendly app to create a truly integrated approach to COPD management. Wellinks strives to close access barriers through easy integration with existing care. Evidence suggests that integrated COPD care can reduce 30-day hospital readmissions and associated costs significantly. A recent study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research also found that users were highly engaged and satisfied with Wellinks, suggesting the solution may offer an effective way for older adults and those with severe COPD to manage the condition.

“Wellinks and Hartford HealthCare share an understanding about the importance of scientifically validating novel approaches of care,” said Syed Hadi, MD, a Hartford HealthCare hospitalist. “Although COPD is the third leading cause of death by disease in the United States, estimated to cost $49 billion in care annually, innovation in COPD care has trailed other disease states. Acute exacerbations of COPD often result in hospitalization, and a quarter of patients will be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days.”

Dr. Hadi continued, “This is an important step as, together, we can reduce readmissions and move healthcare forward.”

Once study participants leave the hospital, they will be eligible to receive 16 weeks of access to the Wellinks solution, including its virtual pulmonary rehabilitation program. This forward-looking, observational research study will measure hospital readmission—both all-cause and COPD-related—as well as multiple clinical outcomes, and compare participants’ results to a matched control data set obtained retrospectively from Hartford HealthCare electronic health records.

“COPD is a complex medical condition that requires a multidisciplinary team approach. When patients are recovering from hospitalization, care gaps are difficult to close and can have a negative impact on outcomes,” said Abi Sundaramoorthy, MD, MBA, chief medical officer at Wellinks. “Wellinks is designed to bridge these gaps to engage and empower patients regardless of their access to traditional in-person resources. We are eager to work with Hartford HealthCare to advance the clinical evidence for virtual-first COPD care while helping more patients live fully and breathe freely.”

This announcement follows several months of clinical and corporate momentum for Wellinks. After closing a $25-million funding round led by Morningside Ventures, Wellinks recently announced the ASPIRE study, in collaboration with the COPD Foundation, to examine both the clinical and economic outcomes of its virtual-first solution.