The impact of integrated disease management in high-risk COPD patients in primary care

NPJ Prim Care Respir Med. 2019 Mar 28;29(1):8. doi: 10.1038/s41533-019-0119-9.


Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have a reduced quality of life (QoL) and exacerbations that drive health service utilization (HSU). A majority of patients with COPD are managed in primary care. Our objective was to evaluate an integrated disease management, self-management, and structured follow-up intervention (IDM) for high-risk patients with COPD in primary care. This was a one-year multi-center randomized controlled trial. High-risk, exacerbation-prone COPD patients were randomized to IDM provided by a certified respiratory educator and physician, or usual physician care. IDM received case management, self-management education, and skills training. The primary outcome, COPD-related QoL, was measured using the COPD Assessment Test (CAT). Of 180 patients randomized from 8 sites, 81.1% completed the study. Patients were 53.6% women, mean age 68.2 years, post-bronchodilator FEV1 52.8% predicted, and 77.4% were Global Initiative for Obstructive Lung Disease Stage D. QoL-CAT scores improved in IDM patients, 22.6 to 14.8, and worsened in usual care, 19.3 to 22.0, adjusted difference 9.3 (p < 0.001). Secondary outcomes including the Clinical COPD Questionnaire, Bristol Knowledge Questionnaire, and FEV1 demonstrated differential improvements in favor of IDM of 1.29 (p < 0.001), 29.6% (p < 0.001), and 100 mL, respectively (p = 0.016). Compared to usual care, significantly fewer IDM patients had a severe exacerbation, -48.9% (p < 0.001), required an urgent primary care visit for COPD, -30.2% (p < 0.001), or had an emergency department visit, -23.6% (p = 0.001). We conclude that IDM self-management and structured follow-up substantially improved QoL, knowledge, FEV1, reduced severe exacerbations, and HSU, in a high-risk primary care COPD population. NCT02343055.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / methods*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Primary Health Care / methods*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / prevention & control
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / therapy*
  • Quality of Life
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Care

Associated data