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Impacting on care for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

COPD patient

John Black explains

why data sharing is important and will improve care

chc corner design

The North West Coast Connected Health Cities developed a new algorithm to identify emergency admissions due to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) that reflects the way the condition presents.

When compared with the national analysis, the NWC algorithm identified over 50% more admissions with COPD currently being provided with NHS care.

The algorithm identified a total of 52,389 emergency admissions due to COPD over three years across the 12 NWC trusts, compared to just 33,233 spells if only the first diagnosis code was considered. The new algorithm identifies 19,156 additional COPD admissions (a ‘missed’ population of 58%). 

COPD is the second most common cause of an acute medical admission but many cases could be prevented or managed outside hospital.

CHC sought data-driven solutions to improve care for COPD patients in the North West Coast. The project examined the way hospital admissions and attendances for COPD patients were coded and developed a new algorithm to capture them more accurately.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is the second most common cause of an acute medical admission but many cases could be prevented or managed outside hospital.

CHC sought data-driven solutions to improve care for COPD patients in the North West Coast. The project examined the way hospital admissions and attendances for COPD patients were coded and developed a new algorithm to capture them more accurately.

Planning based on the official statistics with the additional, more severe, patients excluded, would significantly underestimate the impact of COPD and staffing required to manage it

This missed population is more severe, older and from deprived areas, with three times higher hospital mortality and has much higher use of resources.

AVERAGE 81% more bed days

Using the new algorithm, reports were generated for each trust to enable clinical and managerial teams to focus care in places where there is the greatest potential benefit so COPD patients would have fewer severe events and an alternative to hospital when they happen.

info-graphic about COPD

COPD pathway impacts:

  • A Physician Associate Scheme was created to review COPD patients and get them ‘winter-ready’ as well as supporting hospital A&E departments.
  • CHC data and methods made available to CCGs and respiratory teams across the Cheshire and Merseyside Network to inform resource allocation
  • New COPD dashboard for healthcare professionals to access relevant information to improve service planning and delivery in their areas. View dashboard > Developed at Lancaster University
  • Two Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) enabled to focus on the most challenged areas to improve care for the biggest benefit at the lowest cost. CCGs in Central Lancashire used COPD hotspot data to drive the early stages of their Elective Care Respiratory quality improvement programme.
  • Government bodies intend to make use of these new algorithms in the future and the Innovation Agency has developed a respiratory theme and is incorporating outputs from the COPD Pathway developed by CHC.

For more information, contact COPD lead clinician

Professor Mike Pearson

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