April 7, 2022, 12:25 p.m. News Staff — The AAFP, courtesy of an educational project sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals Ltd., is developing a series of free resources to assist family physicians in the care of patients with COPD. The first items in the series, a resource guide and educational poster, are now available for members on the Academy’s respiratory health webpage.
“In busy practices, it is difficult to find time to read all of the practice recommendations and distill the critical points that relate to family medicine care and support for people with COPD,” said Barbara Yawn, M.D., M.Sc., an adjunct professor in the Department of Family and Community Health at the University of Minnesota Medical School. She is one of three family physicians involved in creating the new materials, along with Charles Vega Jr. M.D., a clinical professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of California-Irvine School of Medicine; and Neil Skolnik, M.D., a professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University, in Philadelphia.
“These resources have been reviewed to assure they are based on existing evidence and are relevant to primary care,” Yawn added. “By distilling multiple resources into a few that have been vetted and are easy to download, we hope to provide practices with new tools they can trust.”
The first item, a COPD resource guide, contains links to more than three dozen online resources that physicians can use themselves or share with patients. The resources are designed to aid clinicians at each point of care, including diagnosis, assessment, pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic therapies, and followup and monitoring. They are complemented by a brief list of journal articles.
The second item, “Intervention Opportunities in COPD Management,” discusses the risks associated with severe COPD exacerbations and mortality risk, and features a graph of potential treatment touchpoints that may occur in the management of a patient’s COPD over time. Each touchpoint in care includes options for changes in treatment and opportunities for shared decision-making between patients and clinicians.
“I hope family physicians and their care teams and office staff will be able to download these materials and keep the links or the tools ready to share with patients,” said Yawn, adding, “Each physician and practice will have to decide how they can best be used, but I believe they can act as both background support as well as point of care practice tools to share with those coming for COPD care.”
In addition to the resource guide and educational poster, the Academy is creating a collection of four COPD-related educational videos:
Kathryn “Kat” Istas, M.P.H., program and evaluation strategist in the Academy’s Division of Research, Health of the Public and Science, told AAFP News that the expert panel tasked with developing the resources identified the issue of dyspnea versus exacerbation as an important point of distinction in treating patients with COPD, and sought to highlight both the interviewing process and the rationale of medication management.
The videos will be added to the respiratory health webpage as they become available.