In a recent study, integration of EHRs into outpatient assessment workflow improved COPD disease management.

In the study, recently published in the journal Respiratory Medicine, the research team hypothesized that a structured approach using information contained in the EHR system would improve compliance with clinical practice guidelines for the evaluation and management of patients with stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). They found that implementation of a standardized COPD “flowsheet” developed from clinical practice guidelines improved advanced assessment of COPD patients and other quality-of-life measures.

COPD requires lifetime management of the disease and places a heavy burden on the healthcare system, the researchers noted in their report. Unmanaged patients often end up in emergency departments or with hospitalizations, they wrote. The cost of treating the disease was estimated at $50 billion in 2010.

“Because COPD leads to an overall decline in lung function and quality of life, it is important to optimize the outpatient management of these patients,” said lead author Jordan Terasaki, UTMB fellow in the Department of Internal Medicine’s Division of Pulmonary Critical Care & Sleep Medicine. “Timely access to care or an action plan can avoid emergency room visits and/or hospitalizations in these patients.”

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