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Educational Efforts Reduce COPD Costs by $3.4 Million in East Texas Study
Date:3/3/2011

nfidence related to guideline-appropriate treatment, testing and patient education," says Pam McFadden, associate vice president of UNT Health Science Center's Center for Professional and Continuing Education.  "In on-site and follow-up interviews and surveys, everyone who attended said they would increase the use of proper  testing, use proven smoking cessation strategies and work locally to overcome the barriers to improving COPD outcomes."

According to Andrew Crim, the Center's executive director, increased testing would have been enough to make a strong case for the need for more education.  "However, the true measure of CME is improving patient care and community health," he says.  "So we studied the impact of these educational efforts long term by analyzing hospital admission data already collected by the state and other sources of information.

To measure the long-term outcomes, researchers looked at the number of prescriptions for drugs recommended to treat COPD, the number of new diagnoses and the number of potentially preventable hospitalizations caused by COPD reported by the Texas Department of State Health Services. Rates before and after the educational activities were compared, and the results are significant.

"All the data we looked at went in the direction we hoped it would. It showed that when providers use established guidelines and patients are treated according to those guidelines, the result is improved health," McFadden said.

The Texas Public Use Data File, a combined set of statistics reported by each hospital in the state, shows that 2-3 months before the health care providers in these counties attended the activities, there were 1,538 potentially preventable hospitalizations due to COPD. In the same time period following the programs, only 1,402 were observed – a reduction of 136. The data also show that other counties of similar size
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SOURCE UNT Health Science Center
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