This time last year the COPD community came together for a Town Hall at the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Md., to discuss the development of the COPD National Action Plan. Patients, caregivers, advocacy groups, health systems, health care providers, federal partners, industry, and insurers discussed the Action Plan's goals, objectives, and associated tactics. From awareness to diagnosis, disease management, and research and legislative recommendations, the community covered the full spectrum of issues related to COPD and laid the groundwork for the Action Plan.
Since that time, significant progress has been made in the months following the Town Hall. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) worked to develop Action Plan drafts that went through various reviews with federal and non-federal partners. During the public comment period in October 2016, individuals, patient groups, industry, and health care providers and their associations submitted more than 200 comments to guide the NHLBI in fine-tuning the Action Plan.
Now in internal review, the Action Plan is expected to be publically released this spring. This Action Plan will be the first plan to provide recommendations to reduce the burden of the disease nationwide across five goals focused on people immediately affected by the disease, health care professionals, science, and national guidelines [see sidebar].
Look for an update from the NHLBI for the release of the Action Plan and its implementation. To learn more, visit the website or contact COPDActionPlan@porternovelli.com with any questions.
According to initial research from an NHLBI-funded study, health providers may soon have a new tool to identify patients with COPD earlier than before. The CAPTURE (COPD Assessment in Primary Care To Identify Undiagnosed Respiratory Disease and Exacerbation Risk) tool is a five-question test that researchers believe could lead to improved treatment of COPD as the result of earlier diagnosis.
The questions cover topics such as environmental exposure, as well as recent health history. Responses are scored and, depending on their score, patients are administered a PEF (peak expiratory flow) test or referred for additional diagnostic testing.
"The hope is that by finding individuals with COPD at an earlier stage of illness, we might be able to offer them treatments which can improve their disease," Dr. James Kiley, Director of Division of Lung Diseases at NHLBI, told Nursing Times.
To learn more about the study, visit the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
Find the full infographic on our Flickr page
In November, Breathe Better Network partners across the country celebrated National COPD Awareness Month. We spoke to Respiratory Health Association, based in Chicago, Illinois, to talk about their work with COPD and how they recognized the awareness month.
Tell us about how your organization works with COPD patients/the disease space:
Today, RHA addresses asthma, COPD, lung cancer, tobacco control, and air quality with a comprehensive approach involving education, research, and policy change. Our mission is to prevent lung disease, promote clean air, and help people live better lives. The COPD Initiative works at the local, state, and national levels to raise COPD awareness, improve care for COPD patients, and prevent and reduce the prevalence of the disease.
What sort of activities does your organization participate in for COPD?
Since 2004, more than 6,000 people living with COPD and their caregivers have participated in RHA's COPD patient programs, including our annual Living Better Together COPD Conference. Our COPD patient and caregiver educational newsletter, Inspiration, reaches thousands of people annually, providing tips for living well, the latest in COPD research, advances in treatment and medication, and legislative updates. RHA also offers access to free, downloadable health education resources for the public, including information on COPD management, treatment options, and more.