Uptake of Clinical Prognostic Tools in COPD Exacerbations Requiring Hospitalisation

COPD. 2021 Aug;18(4):406-410. doi: 10.1080/15412555.2021.1959540. Epub 2021 Aug 6.


Clinical prognostic tools are used to objectively predict outcomes in many fields of medicine. Whilst over 400 have been developed for use in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), only a minority have undergone full external validation and just one, the DECAF score, has undergone an implementation study supporting use in clinical practice. Little is known about how such tools are used in the UK. We distributed surveys at two time points, in 2017 and 2019, to hospitals included in the Royal College of Physicians of London national COPD secondary care audit program. The survey assessed the use of prognostic tools in routine care of hospitalized COPD patients. Hospital response rates were 71/196 in 2017 and 72/196 in 2019. The use of the DECAF and PEARL scores more than doubled in decisions about unsupported discharge (7%-15.3%), admission avoidance (8.1%-17%) and readmission avoidance (4.8%-13.1%); it more than tripled (8.8%-27.8%) in decisions around hospital-at-home or early supported discharge schemes. In other areas, routine use of clinical prognostic tools was uncommon. In palliative care decisions, the use of the Gold Standards Framework Prognostic Indicator Guidance fell (5.6%-1.4%). In 2017, 43.7% of hospitals used at least one clinical prognostic tool in routine COPD care, increasing to 52.1% in 2019. Such tools can help challenge prognostic pessimism and improve care. To integrate these further into routine clinical care, future research should explore current barriers to their use and focus on implementation studies.Supplemental data for this article is available online at https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15412555.2021.1959540.

Keywords: COPD; outcome; prediction models; prognosis; prognostic tools.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Disease Progression
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Palliative Care
  • Patient Discharge
  • Prognosis
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive* / diagnosis
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive* / therapy