Audit on the appropriateness of integrated COPD management: the “ALT-BPCO” project
Background: Non communicable chronic diseases (including respiratory ones) are the leading cause of death
and disability. To cope with them we need to redesign the health system, improving primary prevention, screening, and outpatient services, while fully integrating different branches of the health service. The Italian Ministry of Health published extended guidelines on integrated COPD management (COPD-GL) in 2010. In2011 a condensed version was produced. These documents define appropriateness of management regarding both the specialist and the health service.
Methods: An internal audit on how clinical practice conforms to COPD-GL standards was implemented in one Italian region involving 29 respiratory units (RU) (65.8% of the total regional RU): data were collected from the clinical database at time zero and after 6 months. In the meantime, specialists of RU underwent education on COPD-GL.
Results: At time zero, significant gaps between current practice and recommendations emerged both in medical practice (mean agreement 25%) and in the health organization (48%). At month 6 the gaps were reduced more in clinical practice (60.7%) than in organization (54.7%).
Conclusions: It is easier to resolve the gaps in specialist clinical practice than the organizational gaps, changing which is the politicians’ task. Correcting specialists’ inappropriateness may be worthless if this is not accompanied by improvement of the organizational obstacles. The search for appropriateness should not be limited only to specialists or to a strict control of drug prescription but should include all the organizational aspects. Implementation of COPD-GL calls for actions on the part of both specialists and the health system.
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