Press Room

Executive Bios

COPD: Improving awareness for better outcomes

COPD is currently the third leading cause of death in the Unites States (1). According to the 2014 COPD Fact Sheet released by the American Lung Association there are an estimated 12.7 million U.S. adults who have been diagnosed with COPD (2). Yet there are an estimated 24 million U.S adults with impaired lung function indicating a striking number of people with COPD who remain undiagnosed (3). good care physicians rated low awareness of COPD symptoms as one of the most important patient-related barriers to optimal care in patients with COPD (4). In order to improve awareness on COPD the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute have published an article titled “Don’t Let COPD Take Your Breath Away- Bridging the Exam Room Communications Gap”. This article instructs patients on the importance of communicating early signs and symptoms of COPD to their physicians as these symptoms are frequently attributed to a common cold, being out of shape or just getting older. The article also states, “At the same time, providers may not know their patients are dealing with these problems. As a result, many Americans that have COPD go undiagnosed, and their quality of life worsens unnecessarily.” (5)

One of the most crucial steps in improving awareness is understanding the population and specific characteristics of individuals diagnosed with COPD. The CDC published the following data on COPD statistics in Florida in its latest report.

COPD
percent

The following info summarized the aforementioned report on COPD from the CDC (6). Respondents were more likely to report COPD (p<0.05) if they

  • Were female.
  • Were unable to work.
  • Had a household income of less than $25,000.
  • Were divorced, widowed, or separated.
  • Had a history of smoking (current or former).
  • Had a history of asthma.

Respondents were less likely to report COPD (p<0.05) if they

  • Were aged 44 years or younger.
  • Were male. • Had at least some college education.
  • Had a household income of $75,000 or more.
  • Had never smoked.
  • Had no history of asthma.

It’s imperative, especially with patients who have been diagnosed with COPD, that healthcare providers across the continuum of care are monitoring and communicating with each other in regards to any change in the patient’s condition. Appropriate communication and clinical programming designed to educate clinicians and patients / caregivers on proper management of COPD can lead to significantly improved clinical outcomes.

Infinity HomeCare of Pinellas has demonstrated the following outcomes in relation to improving patients reported ability to breathe.

improved

These outcomes apply to all Infinity HomeCare Medicare patients not just those diagnosed with COPD. Dr. Tim Paul Carlson reports that “Infinity’s commitment to clinical excellence is evident through publicly reported data but the improved quality of my patient’s lives is the true testament of care provided. I highly commend and recommend the clinical professionals of Infinity HomeCare, they are a valued extension of my practice.”

CITATIONS:

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Health Statistics. National Vital Statistics Report. Deaths: Final Data for 2010. May 2013; 61(04).
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Health Statistics. National Health Interview Survey Raw Data, 2011. Analysis performed by the American Lung Association Research and Health Education Division using SPSS and SUDAAN software.
3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Surveillance – United States, 1971-2000. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. August 2, 2002; 51(SS06):1-16.
4. J.A Foster, B.P Yawn, A. Maziar, T. Jenkins, S.I. Rennard, L. Casebeer Enhancing COPD Management in good care settings MedGenMed, 9 (2007), p. 24
5. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Don’t Let COPD Take Your Breath Away Retrieved from http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/lung/copd/event-listing/awareness-month-article.htm
6. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. COPD Among Adults in Florida Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/copd/maps/docs/pdf/FL_COPDFactSheet.pdf
7. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Home Health Compare Retrieved from http://www.medicare.gov/homehealthcompare