Launched at Chest 2010, a new COPD Alliance is focusing on a national education campaign to raise the awareness of primary care physicians of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and bring about significant change in the diagnosis and treatment of this progressing, chronic disease.
The COPD Alliance is composed of several national societies—the American College of Chest Physicians, the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians, and the American College of Osteopathic Internists (representing about 200,000 primary care and specialty physicians).
The need for the campaign is obvious considering that only about 50% of the 24 million Americans with COPD have been diagnosed. Accord ing to Brian W. Carlin, MD, Chair of the COPD Alliance, the total cost of COPD in 2010 is expected to be $49.9 billion, which includes $29.5 billion in direct healthcare expenditures and $20.4 billion in indirect costs.
The alliance will ask primary care physicians to integrate the routine use of validated screening measures for patients at risk for the development of COPD, to use spirometry to confirm the diagnosis, and to use evidence-based therapy in the management of COPD patients, Dr Carlin said.
The COPD Alliance has launched a website (www.COPD.org) that grants access to free COPD tools; it will serve as an electronic toolkit to support the efforts of healthcare providers, patients, and caregivers. Outreach and promotional strategies will be used to reach members.
In 2011, each society in the alliance will develop and deliver educational strategies specifically tailored to its membership. Clinicians in training will also be targeted, Dr Carlin said, because few training programs offer comprehensive training in COPD management for residents or fellows.
As part of its strategy, the alliance will keep current tools available, such as the COPD Population Screener, the Tobacco Dependence Treatment Toolkit, the GOLD (Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease) re commendations for diagnosing and treating COPD, and case-based COPD video vignettes