Panel to examine strategies aimed at reducing COPD readmissions

Neil Freedman, MD, FCCP
Neil Freedman, MD, FCCP

Hospitalizations associated with acute exacerbations of COPD not only burden health-care systems with significant expense, they also put patients at risk of adverse outcomes. Despite interventions aimed at reducing readmissions after hospitalization, few strategies have proven to be consistently successful, which is driving efforts to identify the best approach.

This afternoon, four experts will review promising interventions during a session titled Reducing COPD Readmissions in the US and Canada: Successful Strategies and Barriers to Success. This interactive, case-based session will take place at 4:30 pm on Monday in room 295 of the convention center.

Session Chair Neil Freedman, MD, FCCP, a pulmonologist at NorthShore University Health System, said the session has been designed to draw on the literature and the real-world experience of the faculty to demonstrate efforts that can reduce hospital readmission for patients with COPD and the potential obstacles that may limit successful implementation of these approaches.

“We have world-renowned faculty from the United States and Canada who can provide a broad perspective on why different strategies may work or fail,” said Dr. Freedman, who specializes in COPD, asthma, critical care, and sleep medicine. “Despite the lack of consensus on the best strategies to deploy to reduce readmissions related to acute exacerbations of COPD, we need to continue to focus efforts on determining the right approach for this population.”

Dr. Freedman said tactics will need to be cost effective for payers while not being cost prohibitive for providers. In addition, interventions need to be relatively easy to institute while not being overbearing for patients or providers.

“Larger systems with greater financial resources will likely find success with technology and data-driven, comprehensive programs while independent hospitals and practices are more likely to succeed with less resource-intensive interventions such as early post-discharge follow-ups, coaching, action plans, self-management education, and pulmonary rehabilitation,” he said. “Choosing the right interventions that will utilize financial and human resources in a cost-effective manner while tailoring the approaches to meet the needs of a specific patient group is key.”

With all of this in mind, Dr. Freedman said the cases presented will review several approaches that may be applied in different practice settings to help reduce COPD readmissions. These approaches include interventions that may be applied in the hospital during the initial admission, during transition to home or skilled care, and in the office setting after discharge.

“Some of the interventions we will discuss will include med-to-bed programs, respiratory therapist education, early hospital follow-up, care management programs, coaching, COPD action plans, and patient education,” he said. “We also will look at the potential roles of noninvasive ventilation, telemedicine, and predictive modeling on improving outcomes for these patients.”

The session also will include a review of the recent GOLD 2019 guidelines and findings from the 2019 Annals of the American Thoracic Society Workshop on reducing COPD hospital admissions. Panelists will discuss how these recommendations apply to real-world practice.