New COPD Treatment Plan Aims to Reduce Readmissions, Care Costs

Patrícia Silva, PhD avatar

by Patrícia Silva, PhD |

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COPD treatment

Nonin Medical, the developer of the finger pulse oximeter and a leader in designing and manufacturing non-invasive medical monitoring, recently announced a collaboration with Tri-anim Health Services to bring Nonin’s new COPD STEP™ (Seamless Treatment and Exacerbation Prevention) Plan to hospitals in the United States commencing this November. The announcement was made during the 2015 American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) Congress held in Tampa, Florida.

The COPD STEP plan was developed to help hospitals lower costly readmission rates related to COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) while improving patients’ quality of life and clinical outcome. The plan will be provided by Tri-anim under its Curaplex® brand.

Pulmonologists Brian Tiep, MD, and Brian Carlin, MD, together with respiratory therapists Bob McCoy, RRT, FAARC, and Trina Limberg, RRT, MAACVPR, created the plan by drawing on the COPD clinical management and treatment programs they used in clinical practice.

“Most hospitals have programs to treat the acute aspects of COPD, but post-discharge programs supporting the chronic disease aspects tend to fall short,” said Nonin Medical Vice President of Sales, Rick Eagle, in a press release. “Nonin’s COPD STEP Plan addresses both the acute treatment and chronic management aspects of the disease by providing a seamless transitional care plan from hospital to home to clinic.”

The plan is divided into four parts:

  • Care-team Alignment: Coordinates and aligns hospital administration, clinical staff, a trained hospital COPD manager, and the patient’s primary physician in patient care.
  • In-patient Hospital Care Plan: Sets diagnosis and treatment, and trains the patient in the use of home equipment and necessary “daily rituals.”
  • Outpatient Home Care Plan: Initiates patient’s “daily rituals,”  provides easy patient access to the clinician should signs of possible exacerbation or relapse arise, and ensures general post-discharge care and assistance.
  • Home-Care Devices: Includes equipment for COPD management as needed,  like oxygen,  a pulse oximeter (Nonin’s GO2), an airway clearance device, and a MDI spacer.

“We have learned that COPD can be better managed by using a patient-centered model that works across the care continuum,” said Brian Carlin, MD, past president of the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR) and a participant in a pilot project that reduced COPD 30-day readmissions from an average of 23% to 5% following intervention. “This typically includes using a higher quality, accurate personal pulse oximeter at home to monitor blood oxygen saturation and heart rate.”

COPD is a progressive obstructive lung disease characterized by a chronic poor airflow. The condition is the third leading cause of death globally, and in the U.S., more than 11 million people have been diagnosed with the disease and an estimated 24 million are unaware they have the condition. Twenty percent of COPD patients hospitalized for flare-ups are readmitted within 30 days, representing a substantial healthcare cost.

Furthermore, the Affordable Care Act financially penalizes hospitals that surpass a pre-set threshold of readmissions within 30 days. In the fiscal year of 2015, over 78% of U.S. hospitals were fined for their COPD readmissions.

“November is National COPD Awareness Month and Nonin’s COPD STEP Plan is just the latest example of our shared commitment to providing value-added products and programs that reduce costs and make a positive impact on patient care,” said Fred Hunter, Tri-anim Health Services Vice President of Marketing.