Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in Europe and a major drain on resources in both primary and secondary healthcare. COPD has an increasingly high profile with health authorities, health insurance companies and healthcare providers in Europe.
Evidence is growing that COPD patient care varies widely between different hospitals and between different European countries, and is frequently not consistent with published guidelines. There are many different service models and it remains unknown which deliver the best results for patients. In all likelihood, we can all improve the care we give to COPD patients if we have better knowledge of our own performance regarding to patient care and a greater understanding of the service organisational factors in European hospitals that promote better outcomes.
As of October 2010, sixteen countries take part in the seven months data-collection phase of the first audit of COPD care across Europe. This audit involves collecting data about the way hospitals in different European countries provide care for COPD patients as well as clinical data on the process of care and outcomes for COPD patients admitted to a hospital with an exacerbation. The data-collection will be carried out using a web-based survey tool with the aim of publishing reports and analyses by mid 2011.
If successful, we hope this COPD audit will serve as a basis for EU-funded audits in the whole of Europe and beyond.
The anticipated outcome of this COPD audit is to raise the standards of COPD care for patients to a level consistent with European management guidelines.
The COPD audit process will collect clinical data from COPD patients and information about the organisation and services within individual hospitals of each participating European country. The clinical outcomes and organisational data will be compared with those of other hospitals in the same country and elsewhere in Europe.
The results of this COPD audit will provide invaluable information on the strengths and weaknesses of COPD patient care. Innovative services and associations between service models and outcomes within European hospitals will be identified. This information can be shared between participating European hospitals to provide new ideas to those who seek to improve their COPD patient care.
The final report may direct future guidelines and research and provide evidence to support arguments for better organisation of care and adequate resources within countries and throughout the continent.
The COPD audit project is lead by the European Respiratory Society (ERS) and Steering Group. The members of the Steering Group for this COPD audit are: Prof. Michael Roberts (UK), Dr. Sylvia Hartl (Austria), Dr. José Luis López-Campos (Spain).
The European Respiratory Society is represented by Moniek Haan, Project Manager COPD Audit.If you would like to stay updated on the ERS COPD Audit developments, join the ERS COPD Audit LinkedIn network group, follow the ERS COPD Audit on Twitter and Facebook.