Organizational structure for chronic heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Am J Manag Care. 2016 Mar 1;22(3):e82-7.


Objectives: In contrast to chronic heart failure (CHF), measures of quality of care for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are poor. Our objective was to examine differences in organizational structure available to support quality of care for patients with CHF and COPD.

Study design: We performed 2 nationwide surveys exploring organizational structure for the management of CHF and COPD. We surveyed the chief of medicine and the chief of cardiology and pulmonary medicine at 120 Veterans Affairs facilities in the United States.

Methods: Analogous questions about organizational structure that enhanced adherence to guideline-based care were compared between CHF and COPD surveys.

Results: We found large and notable differences in the organizational structure for disease management, with systematically less attention given to COPD than CHF. These differences were evident in multiple processes of care. Key differences included fewer facilities: having COPD clinics than CHF clinics (12.7% vs 50.8%; P < .01), relating performance measures with COPD providers than CHF providers (17.1% vs 70%; P < .01), and having home monitoring programs for COPD than for CHF (50.5% vs 87.4%; P < .01).

Conclusions: Despite the growing burden of COPD, less organizational structure existed for COPD than CHF. Lack of organizational structure for COPD likely impedes an organization's abilities to encourage high-quality care and avoid recently implemented hospital readmission penalties. Our results suggest the need to develop a systematic approach for healthcare systems to provide essential organizational structure based on the burden of disease in the population.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Disease Management
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Heart Failure / diagnosis
  • Heart Failure / epidemiology
  • Heart Failure / therapy*
  • Hospitals, Veterans
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Organizational Objectives
  • Patient Care Planning / organization & administration*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / diagnosis
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / epidemiology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / therapy*
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States