Published: 16-05-2022 16:53 | Updated: 15-06-2022 14:29

New thesis on COPD and eHealth

Hi Pernilla Sönnerfors, PhD student at the Division of Physiotherapy, NVS. On June 17 you will defend your thesis ”eHealth support for physical activity and exercise training in people with COPD”, what's the main focus of the thesis?

Pernilla Sönnerfors, PhD student at the Division of Physiotherapy, NVS. Photo: Annika Clemes

The thesis is about Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and eHealth. COPD is a common disease where the most prominent symptoms are cough, shortness of breath and physical limitations. It is well-known that lung rehabilitation is an effective treatment for COPD regarding both health-related quality of life, symptoms, and physical function. The overall aim of this thesis was to, together with future users, gain increased knowledge about how an e-health tool, with support for physical activity and exercise adapted for people with COPD, should preferably be designed.

Which are the most important results?

The results showed that even the most severely ill people with COPD, were able to use an eHealth tool for support in physical exercise and physical activity. Health care providers should use an eHealth tool for e-rounds. Within the COPD population in Sweden, many have access to, and use technical equipment and the Internet regularly. Both healthcare providers and people with COPD expressed good opportunities to use eHealth tools in rehabilitation. However, it was highlighted that the eHealth tool should be seen as a complement to the existing health care and rehabilitation and that it is important not miss out on personal contact.

How can this new knowledge contribute to the improvement of people’s health?

The result of the thesis highlights the importance of users' (patients and health care providers) wishes to have access to evidence-based treatment options for pulmonary rehabilitation. Flexible solutions in terms of both accessibility and individually adapted support, could be available through the use of eHealth tools, which would benefit people with COPD.

What´s in the future for you? Will you keep on conducting research?

I will continue my work as a physiotherapist specialized in respiration, at Karolinska University Hospital, I will also continue with research on the eHealth tool we developed.


Pernilla Sönnerfors Postdoctoral Researcher