TitleReducing hospital admissions and improving the diagnosis of COPD in Southampton City: methods and results of a 12-month service improvement project
AuthorsTom Wilkinson, Mal North, Simon C Bourne
Published journalNature Partner Journals (NPJ)
Background: The British Lung Foundation highlighted Southampton City as a hotspot for patients at future risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbations due to severe deprivation levels and a high undiagnosed level of disease based on health economic modelling. We developed a strategy spanning primary and secondary care to reduce emergency admissions of patients with acute exacerbations of COPD and increase the diagnosed prevalence of COPD on general practitioner (GP) registers closer to that predicted from local modelling.
Methods: A comprehensive 3-year audit of admissions was performed. Patients who had been admitted with an exacerbation to University Hospital Southampton three or more times in the previous 12 months were cohorted and cared for in a consultant-led, but community based, COPD service. Within primary care, a programme of education and case-based finding was delivered to most practices within the city.
Results: Thirty-four patients were found to be responsible for 176 admissions (22% of total COPD admissions) to the hospital. These 34 patients required 185 active interventions during the 12-month period but only 39 hospital admissions. The 30-day readmission rate dropped from 13.4 to 1.9% (P<0.01), confirming the contribution the cohort made to readmissions. Prior to the project, the registered Quality Outcomes Framework prevalence of COPD within the city was 1.5; after just 1 year of the project, the prevalence increased from 1.5 to 2.27%.
Conclusions: The use of medical intelligence to investigate the underlying processes of COPD hospital admissions led to an effective intervention delivered in a consultant-led model.
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