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Evidence-based COPD disease management program reduces costs and readmissions

Resource Type: Articles
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This article details the evolution of North Dakota’s Sanford Medical Center’s evidence-based COPD care improvement plan. The initiative progressed in several steps: securing administrator and stakeholder (including physician) buy-in; developing a COPD medication protocol and order set; involving pharmacy and nursing personnel as integral parts of the process, as well as finance, quality improvement and IT staff; and instituting a new respiratory therapist specialist role – the COPD clinical specialist. Essential elements of the approach included aggressive care for COPD exacerbations, including oxygen therapy, chest radiograph, bronchodilators, systemic steroids, antibiotics and PRN noninvasive ventilation. Smoking cessation support and pulmonary rehabilitation were also available, as appropriate. Throughout a patient’s stay, the team worked together in close collaboration; a standardized discharge process that included medication and lifestyle education, communication with external healthcare providers and telephone patient follow up, was also employed with each patient. The Sanford team reports a 50 percent reduction in readmissions rates as well as other positive patient and organizational outcomes. Lessons learned and program replication possibilities are also discussed.

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Citation: Bunch D. Evidence-based COPD disease management program reduces costs and readmissions. AARC Times web. Published November 2015. Accessed November 27, 2015.
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