An Official American Thoracic Society Workshop Report: The Integrated Care of the COPD Patient

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Abstract

The optimal care of the patient with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) requires an individualized, patient-centered approach that recognizes and treats all aspects of the disease, addresses the systemic effects and comorbidities, and integrates medical care among healthcare professionals and across healthcare sectors. In many ways the integration of medical care for COPD is still in its infancy, and its implementation will undoubtedly represent a paradigm shift in our thinking. This article summarizes the proceedings of a workshop, The Integrated Care of the COPD Patient, which was funded by the American Thoracic Society. This workshop included participants who were chosen because of their expertise in the area as well as their firsthand experience with disease management models. Our summary describes the concepts of integrated care and chronic disease management, details specific components of disease management as they may apply to the patient with COPD, and provides several innovative examples of COPD disease management programs originating from different healthcare systems. It became clear from the discussions and review of the literature that more high-quality research in this area is vital. It is our hope that the information presented here provides a “call to arms” in this regard.

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