NPS MedicineWise is launching a new educational program on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease for health professionals
Recognising that COPD can be a complex and challenging condition for health professionals to diagnose and manage, the program will provide an update using a suite of educational products targeting GPs, practice nurses and pharmacists, NPS MedicineWise says.
The program is focused on three key areas:
- diagnosis of COPD and assessment of severity – including the role of spirometry;
- stepwise pharmacological management of COPD; and
- inhaler technique and adherence.
“Providing the best pharmacological treatments for COPD – in order to optimise patients’ symptom control and quality of life – relies on accurate diagnosis and assessing the severity of the disease,” says NPS MedicineWise medical adviser Dr Andrew Boyden.
Spirometry is critically important as part of the clinical assessment in order to accurately diagnose COPD and assess its severity. However evidence indicates that while the rate of spirometry use is growing, it is still underutilised.
Recognising that it can be challenging to distinguish COPD from asthma, the program will provide health professionals with information to assist them in excluding asthma and confirming COPD diagnosis.
The program also addresses a range of newer treatment options. In recent years there has been a plethora of new inhalers for the treatment of COPD released into the Australian market.
“Because of the recent influx of newer COPD medicines and devices, it can be challenging for health professionals to remain up-to-date with developments. This new program, which is based on the Lung Foundation COPD-X guidelines stepwise approach, aims to help GPs understand the range of treatment options now available,” says Dr Boyden.
The program will also highlight the importance of correct inhaler technique and matching the patient with a suitable inhaler device.
“Inhaler technique and adherence are also a focus because studies suggest that many patients don’t use their devices correctly or are not taking their COPD medications as prescribed leading to sub-optimal management of their condition,” adds Dr Boyden.
To find out more about the health professional program, go to http://www.nps.org.au/copd