DANVILLE, Pa. – Geisinger has launched the Voice Analysis of COPD Patients with Exacerbations (VOICE) research study that aims to gain more information on a novel technique to detect flare-ups or exacerbartions of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in patients. The method being examined in the study is an algorithm for vocal biomarkers developed by Healthymize, a company that develops artificial intelligence-based voice analysis technology for diseases. This is an Investigator Sponsored Study supported by a grant from GSK.

COPD is a progressive lung disease that makes it difficult to breathe. The two main forms of COPD are chronic bronchitis and emphysema, both of which damage your airways and interfere with your ability to absorb oxygen and release carbon dioxide.

COPD exacerbations or flare-ups are typically caused by an infection in the lung. The infection can cause inflammation and narrow the airway, possibly blocking it.

“If we detect changes in a patient’s health condition earlier, we can reduce hospitalization and administer care in a timely manner at home,” said Paul F. Simonelli, MD, PhD., principal investigator of the study and chair of the Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Geisinger. “We know that early detection of exacerbation improves outcomes, and Healthymize has the potential to present an easy-to-use solution that monitors patients from home. Healthymize can start with COPD and then expand to other chronic care concerns, such as heart disease and mental health issues.”

The study is currently recruiting Geisinger COPD patients between the ages of 40 and 80 to participate. Patients must have a prior year history of COPD exacerbations including both bronchitis or pneumonia.

Participating Geisinger patients will be required to perform daily voice recordings and questionnaires over the six-month participation period. Patients can enroll at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre or Geisinger Gray’s Woods in State College.

For additional information or to sign up as a participant of the VOICE study, call 570-214-5420.