COPD study sees hospitals and GP practices working together

Hundreds of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have been recruited to a pioneering study featuring collaboration between primary and secondary care.

Led by Heartlands Hospital, part of University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB), the study has rolled out across all GP practices in Birmingham.

Over 700 patients have already taken part in the study, with recruitment expected to end by the end of the year when 1500 COPD patients have been recruited.

The study is testing two models, and will also answer questions from GPs about the treatment and care of patients with COPD, who often have complex care needs.

Dr Alice Turner, respiratory consultant and clinical director of research at Heartlands Hospital, said: “COPD is one of the most common causes of hospital admissions, so the importance of studies like this one cannot be underestimated.

“Although many studies usually take place in hospitals, by involving GP practices in research, we will ensure greater collaboration between secondary and primary care.

“Patients who may not have been admitted to hospital with COPD flare-ups will be able to take part, and will not have to travel as far.”

Funded by a non-commercial grant from Astrazeneca, the study will also lead to an integrated system between Heartlands and GP practices, enabling results and study information to be shared. A quality improvement system will also be developed, with both systems created by UHB IT staff.

The study’s lead researcher Ketan Patel, Doctor in Respiratory Medicine at Heartlands, also works on the study alongside a trial coordinator and data manager from the University of Birmingham.

An estimated two million people in the UK have COPD but are currently undiagnosed.