Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) robs your patients of their independence. In the most extreme cases, it triggers readmissions, which give us one of the clearest indicators of poor symptom management.
We know from research, and from our own case studies, that Chronic Care Management (CCM) has invigorated the health care industry, and restored freedom to millions of patients battling chronic disease.
A 2017 study by Dutch researchers examined a small group of COPD patients who had suffered more than one hospital admission over the course of one year.
Their research stands out to us because case managers in the study followed a routine that appears strikingly close the one Signallamp’s remote nurse case managers follow, with one check-in per month to investigate patient:
- living situation
- social network
- therapy adherence
- care needs
The Dutch researchers checked in five times over the course of 20 weeks. Just like Signallamp remote nurse case managers, they supported the whole patient – their physical health as well as social determinants of health. Their work, although limited in scope with only 10 patients, led to stunning outcomes. Here’s what happened:
Fewer readmissions for COPD episodes
Patients who previously suffered frequent readmissions reduced hospitalizations by 56%.
Fewer readmissions has obvious benefits for patient wellbeing. It’s hard to thrive in a hospital bed, and even a few days in such a state of suspended animation utterly disrupts a life well-lived.
But beyond that, readmissions cost a lot of money. They tax the health care system and the patient. The Dutch researchers realized a net savings of more than $4,000 per patient, per year. A back-of-the-napkin calculation suggests that if your health system provides care for 500 COPD patients, you could be looking at an annual net savings of $2 million.
Nearly a decade after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services rolled out the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program, CMS still penalizes about half of the nation’s hospitals for readmissions within 30 days, according to Kaiser Health News. A robust CCM program should be part of any health system’s toolkit for reducing exposure.
Independence through self-management
In surveys, patients reported feeling more independent and that they had more control of their disease. They had a stronger grasp on how and when to take their medication. They also had a greater sense of what triggers COPD episodes and when to take action, for example when they should contact their primary care physician.
Added awareness is one of the most important benefits Signallamp brings to your practice or health system. With a phone call each month, Signallamp’s remote nurse case managers remind COPD patients that they’re not alone in their journey toward wellness. A steadfast ally creates an environment of accountability where patients make smart decisions because they know they’ll have to explain them to someone who cares later.
With a stable foundation of care, patients settle into a healthy rhythm beyond what they could ever get from clinical visits alone. They learn to own their wellbeing, with their remote nurse case manager gently guiding them.
Better quality of life
At Signallamp, we pursue wellness for your patients because we know what it means for their quality of life. The Dutch researchers found it, too.
After 20 weeks, patients reported a more positive outlook. They were less anxious and more willing to accept their situation. In their wellness, they stepped out to connect with other people, and reported better relationships with their romantic partners as well as their grandchildren.
The Dutch researchers might be on the other side of the planet, but their positive findings around CCM resonate loud and clear with us in the United States. COPD doesn’t have to cripple your patients’ independence and sense of worth.
Learn more about how Signallamp integrates with your health system or private practice to manage COPD symptoms in your practice today.
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