Reducing COPD Readmissions: Strategies for the Pulmonologist to Improve Outcomes

Neil Freedman
Chest 2019, 156 (4): 802-807
Hospitalizations for patients with acute exacerbations of COPD are associated with several adverse patient outcomes as well as with significant health-care costs. Despite many interventions targeted at reducing readmissions following an initial hospitalization, there are few strategies that have been consistently associated with reductions in this outcome. Despite the lack of consensus as to the best strategies to deploy to reduce readmissions related to acute exacerbations of COPD, efforts must continue to focus on determining the best approaches for this population. These tactics will need to be cost-effective for payers while not being cost-prohibitive for providers. In addition, these interventions will need to be relatively easy to institute while not being overbearing for patients or providers. Larger systems with their greater financial resources will likely find success with technology and data-driven comprehensive programs; independent hospitals and practices are more likely to succeed with less resource-intensive interventions such as early postdischarge follow-up, coaching, action plans, self-management education, and pulmonary rehabilitation. Choosing the right interventions that will utilize financial and human resources in a cost-effective manner, while tailoring the approaches to meet the needs of a specific patient group, will be of key importance.


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