Enhancing COPD Management in Primary Care Settings

Jill A. Foster, MD, MPH; Barbara P. Yawn, MD, MS, MSc, FAAFP; Maziar Abdolrasulnia, PhD; Todd Jenkins, MPH; Stephen I. Rennard, MD, FCCP; Linda Casebeer, PhDs

In This Article


This study presents a snapshot of primary care physician's clinical decision-making when caring for patients with mild-to-moderate COPD. The landmark GOLD guidelines are now 5 years old and may be an important mechanism for improving COPD care, but they have not yet reached many primary care physicians. Many physicians in this study made choices that were guideline-adherent, but discrepancies relating to COPD detection, diagnosis, and management were common and may point to important knowledge gaps. Both family medicine and internal medicine physicians reported that COPD was prevalent in their practices, but several distinctions were observed that may indicate somewhat different educational needs. Tiered educational programs that address critical knowledge gaps, simultaneously compare and contrast COPD with asthma and are well tailored to the primary care setting may lead to substantive improvements in COPD patient care. The broader use of the internet and other newer technologies may be important and can extend education to key primary care physicians practicing in less populous areas with high COPD mortality.


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