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Advance for Respiratory Care & Sleep Medicine • January 2017

14 AADDVVAANNCCEE FFOORR RREESSPPIIRRAATTOORRYY CCAARREE && SSLLEEEEPP MMEEDDIICCIINNEE PULMONARY FUNCTION JANUARY 2017 able to better treat their patients and grow their practices. Spirometry and DLCO testing is viable for offering more services, especially for areas with a high prevalence of COPD. IMPROVING OUTCOMES AT THE POINT OF CARE Given the growing populations affected by COPD, it’s critical to add spirometry and DLCO testing at the point of care. For example, Summa Health, an Ohio-based health care system, noticed a high prevalence of COPD in the state, with smoking identified as one of the top two concerns in a Community Health Needs Assessment conducted by Summa Health and other area health systems. Rather than replacing outdated conventional lab equipment and expanding the lung function lab, Summa Health equipped their clinics with modern, portable and maintenance-free devices for measuring spirometry and DLCO at the point of care, equipment significantly different than what they have used in the past. One immediate benefit was that it standardized test results regardless of where the patient was tested, something that wasn’t true with the old equipment. With the ability to quickly test patients at the point of care, these devices reduced wait times and decreased misdiagnosis and patient transport costs. By increasing the number of patients who could be tested, Summa Health improved its workflow and drastically increased the efficiency of the health system. Summa Health expanded the purchasing of this equipment to small community health centers. Summa Health demonstrated how adoption of these devices at the point of care can have a broader impact on a health system’s overall population health strategy. Traditionally, some healthcare providers have been reluctant to perform comprehensive pulmonary function tests on a wide swath of patients because of cost pressures and complexity of traditional systems if they can’t be reimbursed. With DLCO testing, pulmonologists and primary care physicians at Summa Health, in addition to cardiothoracic surgeons and oncologists, are receiving better information about their patients’ pulmonary status, enabling them to improve treatment for a range of diseases. THE ROAD AHEAD With COPD’s growing number of cases, it’s critical that the healthcare industry focus on early diagnosis at the point of care. Cost-effective, easy-to-use tools need to be available to respiratory therapists as well as becoming the standard of care similar to a blood pressure test in PCPs’ offices and other locations where people receive their care. To detect and better diagnose COPD, respiratory therapists and PCPs must work together with today’s modern tools with a focus on patient centric care at the point of care. Through better diagnosis and treatment of people living with lung disease, the healthcare industry can fight the COPD epidemic while helping reduce the significant economic burden of lung disease across the entire health care system. Reference 1. Harvey BG, Strulovici-Barel Y, Kaner RJ et al. Risk of COPD with obstruction in active smokers with normal spirometry and reduced diffusion capacity. Eur Respir J. 2015;46(6);1589-1597. Georg Harnoncourt is CEO of ndd Medical Technologies, Andover, Mass. With the World Health Organization predicting that COPD will become the third-leading cause of death worldwide by 2030, it’s critical that the healthcare industry focus on early diagnosis at the point of care.” RELATED CONTENT Early Screening for COPD Better recognition should reduce morbidity and mortality.


Advance for Respiratory Care & Sleep Medicine • January 2017
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