Virtual clinics improve chronic obstructive pulmonary disease care quality

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To improve the care of patients with long-term pulmonary diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, primary-care providers may want to consider practicing within a multidisciplinary virtual clinic, according to research presented at the British Thoracic Society’s Winter Meeting.

“There is a new need for enhanced training in delivering integrated care,” explained Martyn Partridge, of the Imperial College London in a society press release.

“We believe greater collaboration between respiratory specialist, primary-care colleagues, and community services will further improve the management of those with long-term conditions.”

Previous evidence suggests patients do not always receive proper support and treatment to help with smoking cessation, exercise, and pulmonary health education. Providers may also be overly reliant on inhaled corticosteroids for disease management, noted the researchers, stating that a local study revealed 38% of patients with COPD were over-treated with inhaled corticosteroids.

To evaluate the impact of a virtual clinic on care quality in patients with COPD, Grainne d’Ancona, PharmD, of Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Hospital in London, United Kingdom, and colleagues ran respiratory virtual clinics with primary-care teams across Lambeth, United Kingdom.

The clinics reviewed individual COPD patient case-notes and agreed treatment plans, including the stepping down and stopping of inappropriate inhaled corticosteroid use. This practice brought about a significant reduction in high dose inhaled corticosteroids prescribing and substantial savings to the local health-care economy, reported the investigators. The virtual clinic also helped patients move towards effective interventions like smoking cessation and pulmonary rehabilitation.

“Virtual COPD clinics are a prime example of the positive work happening right now with specialist sharing their knowledge and expertise with [primary-care providers],” concluded Partridge.

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Virtual clinics improve COPD care quality

Multidisciplinary virtual clinics are an innovative way to bring together hospital lung specialists and primary-care clinicians to improve the care of people with long term lung conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a new study being presented at The British Thoracic Society's Winter Meeting.

COPD is a smoking-related condition affecting nearly one million people across the UK. There is wide variation in the management and outcomes of this condition.

Evidence suggests many patients do not always receive important support and treatment to help them stop smoking, and also exercise and education through a pulmonary rehabilitation program.

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