Shyam Subramanian, MD: Team-Based Care for COPD Has Benefits Beyond Patient Outcomes

After implementing a team-based care approach to COPD, one hospital saved $600 per patient, per year.

A team-based approach to caring for patients with COPD has been shown to improve patient outcomes, but there's more to it than that, according to Shyam Subramanian, MD, FCCP, Divisional Director, Pulmonary Critical Care at Sutter Gould Medical Foundation. Learn more about Subramanian's recommendations, recorded at the 2017 CHEST Annual Meeting in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


The current state of care for COPD is very fragmented and it is physician-centric. The onus is put on the patient to develop symptoms, recognize the symptoms, and then seek medical attention for it. That care is given in the context of a sick visit, and then there isn't really a plan in place for integrating that care with other aspects of whatever the patient's needs are.

What we are trying to emphasize is a team-based approach towards integrating that care and making it comprehensive, putting the onus on the patient and making the patient the center of the medical universe, and having the rest of the team approach the patient in a coordinated manner.

That has clearly been shown to do multiple things. One, it provides more effective care, so the patients actually have better outcomes. Two, it reduces costs. It reduces the burden of ER visits and hospitalizations, reduces length of stay, keeps patients more productive.

At the end of the day, payers are recognizing the value in this. For example, at Intermountain in Utah, which adopted this, they showed about a $600 savings per year, per patient. So if you have 20,000 patients in the system with COPD, and you're saving $600 per patient, per year, over a 5-year timespan that can translate into millions of dollars of savings.