Ann Cameron, PhD: Increased Healthcare Burden in Patients with COPD

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"High-risk patients are more likely to experience comorbid conditions and are more likely to use COPD medications and oxygen, reflecting a higher disease burden," Dr. Ann Cameron explains.

Ann Cameron, PhD

Ann Cameron, PhD

Credit: ResMed

Ann Cameron, PhD, the associate director of Health Economics & Outcomes Research at ResMed shared the main findings and implications of her research investigating patients with high-risk COPD and their healthcare outcomes.

The study aimed to identify characteristics of high-cost, high-risk patients that could indicate an elevated risk for poor clinical outcomes and the results were presented at the American Thoracic Society (ATS) 2023 International Conference in Washington DC.

HCPLive: Can you briefly summarize the main findings and implications of your study on high-risk COPD patients and their healthcare outcomes?

Cameron: Building on our previous real-world research on predictors of COPD-related hospitalization, we identified characteristics in high-cost, high-risk patients who may be at increased risk for poor clinical outcomes.

We defined high-risk patients as 55 years and older, who had one or more exacerbations in the prior year, with Medicaid or dual Medicaid/Medicare Advantage health insurance, and moderate or high COPD complexity, which is a proxy for disease severity.  6% of patients in our study met these criteria.

The Key Findings:

  • High-risk patients are more likely to experience comorbid conditions and are more likely to use COPD medications and oxygen, reflecting a higher disease burden.
  • We also found higher use of the healthcare system among high-risk patients. For example, we saw a greater proportion of high-risk patients use costly healthcare resources such as emergency department visits and hospitalizations. This was true for both all-cause and COPD-related emergency department visits and hospitalizations.
  • High-risk patients were more likely to have higher healthcare costs. For example, annual COPD-related inpatient hospitalization costs for high-risk patients were over 6 times higher than those for patients who did not meet the high-risk definition.

Given the limited time clinicians have with patients, these findings can help them quickly identify those who may benefit from focused interventions or increased monitoring, and in doing so promote early intervention, which will alleviate costly exacerbations that often result in declining health status and quality of life for people with COPD.

ResMed is a leader in cloud-connected devices for treating sleep apnea, COPD, asthma and other respiratory diseases. We’re focused on delivering lifesaving therapy solutions and accelerating the adoption of digital health in sleep, respiratory and out-of-hospital care. Real-world studies like this one on the effects of chronic diseases and treatments for them help inform global governments, healthcare systems, and healthcare providers on the state of sleep and respiratory diseases now and in the future.

What motivated you to conduct this research on COPD exacerbations and their impact on clinical outcomes and healthcare resource utilization?

ResMed is a leader in cloud-connected devices for treating sleep apnea, COPD, asthma, and other respiratory diseases. Conducting studies such as this one help us continue to deliver lifesaving therapy solutions and accelerate the adoption of digital health in sleep, respiratory and out-of-hospital care.

We did some preliminary research last year on COPD burden overall. This year we took that data and shifted our focus to patients at “higher risk” for severe COPD exacerbations (i.e., hospitalizations), knowing already the extent to which these factors impact patients’ health status and quality of life, contribute to poor clinical outcomes, and are a leading driver of healthcare costs.

We hope that by being able to identify such patients, we can inform earlier intervention to improve outcomes for patients and potentially reduce healthcare costs.

References:

  1. Cameron A, Barrett M, Kaye L, Malik AS, Woodford C, Sterling KL. Characteristics, Healthcare Resource Use and Costs Among High-Risk Patients With COPD in the United States. Abstract presented at: American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine Conference; 2023. Abstract number A6643. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm-conference.2023.207.1_MeetingAbstracts.A6643.
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