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Popul Health Manag. 2009 Aug;12(4):209-15. doi: 10.1089/pop.2008.0043.

Improving quality of care for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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Center for Health Policy, Planning, and Research, University of New England, 716 Stevens Ave., Portland, ME 04103, USA.


A chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) project was initiated at 18 primary care clinical practices located in rural areas of northeastern Maine to improve the diagnosis and treatment of patients with COPD through the adoption of evidence-based and best practice clinical guidelines for care management. Clinical guidelines based on the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) were implemented by the practices using the Institute for Healthcare Improvement Breakthrough Series learning session model. Practice barriers and patient barriers were identified through focus groups and were then addressed at the learning sessions and through direct contact with the practices. To evaluate the improvements that were a result of the project, changes in clinical practice and patient care were measured pre and post initiative. The greatest improvements in COPD patient care were in the areas of smoking cessation counseling, annual influenza vaccinations, discussion of self-management goals, and diet/exercise counseling. Participants reported that the collaborative nature of the project allowed for mutual learning, provided teams with support to identify and overcome barriers, and fostered teamwork to find solutions to shared problems.

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