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Suboptimal Medical Therapy in COPD*: Exploring the Causes and Consequences

Scott D. Ramsey, MD, PhD
Author and Funding Information

*From the Departments of Medicine and Health Services,

Correspondence to: Scott D. Ramsey, MD, PhD, Center for Cost and Outcomes Research, University of Washington, 146 North Canal St, Suite 300, Seattle, WA 98103; e-mail: s-ramsey@u.washington.edu



Chest. 2000;117(2_suppl):33S-37S. doi:10.1378/chest.117.2_suppl.33S
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Effective outpatient management of COPD requires prescription of and adherence to appropriate therapies. Although practice guidelines for outpatient management of COPD are widely available, evidence suggests that these guidelines are not being implemented widely in clinical practice. Furthermore, several studies have shown that patient compliance with recommended therapy is poor. This paper discusses several reasons why implementation of practice guidelines and adherence with prescribed therapies may be poor. Potential clinical and economic consequences of suboptimal management are reviewed. Although the evidence suggests that improved compliance with guideline-recommended practice will improve symptoms and disease-specific quality of life, further work needs to be done to establish the cost-effectiveness of chronic therapies for COPD relative to other chronic conditions. Without such data, managed care organizations will be reluctant to allocate scarce resources toward expensive guideline implementation programs for individuals with this condition.

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