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Special Feature |

COPD Performance Measures: Missing Opportunities for Improving Care

John E. Heffner, MD, FCCP; Richard A. Mularski, MD, MSHS, MCR, FCCP; Peter M. A. Calverley, MB
Author and Funding Information

From the Department of Medical Education (Dr Heffner), Providence Portland Medical Center; the Oregon Health & Science University (Dr Heffner), Portland, OR; The Center for Health Research (Dr Mularski); the Center for Ethics in Health Care (Dr Mularski), the Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR; and the Pulmonary and Rehabilitation Research Group (Dr Calverley), Department of Medicine, School of Clinical Science (Aintree Campus), University Hospital Aintree, Liverpool, England.

Correspondence to: John E. Heffner, MD, FCCP, Providence Portland Medical Center, 5050 NE Hoyt St, Ste 540, Portland, OR 97213; e-mail: John_heffner@mac.com


Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians (http://www.chestpubs.org/site/misc/reprints.xhtml).


© 2010 American College of Chest Physicians


Chest. 2010;137(5):1181-1189. doi:10.1378/chest.09-2306
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During the last decade, mounting evidence worldwide has heightened awareness that patients with diverse health conditions commonly do not receive recommended care despite the proliferation of clinical practice guidelines. This is a particular problem for patients with COPD, who only receive recommended care during 30% to 55% of encounters with providers. Considering that COPD is the fourth leading cause of death worldwide, failure to implement guideline-directed care represents a major concern for respiratory professional societies. For other health conditions, inadequacies of care have stimulated public and private agencies to increase provider accountability by linking the results of performance measures to various quality-improvement interventions. Despite limited evidence that these interventions improve care, widespread adoption of value-based reimbursement has occurred in the United States and United Kingdom, and the prominence of these strategies in health-care reform suggest future growth and the likely proliferation of the performance measures upon which they are based. Of note, relatively few performance measures exist for COPD as compared with other conditions that have less impact on global health. The lack of COPD measures diminishes public awareness of COPD, allows diversion of quality improvement resources toward other conditions with existing measures, and negatively impacts COPD care. Respiratory professional societies can play an important role in stimulating the development of valid COPD measures derived from COPD practice guidelines and coordinate future measures to avoid burdensome reporting requirements for physicians if COPD measures are developed by competing payers and agencies in a fragmented or non-patient-centered manner.


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