To (1) generate discussion about the role of the pharmacist in supporting patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), (2) provide practical recommendations on how pharmacists can work with employers and other health care providers to improve patient outcomes, and (3) develop a pharmacist-based service offering for patients with COPD.
Literature review and survey information provided by a group of national stakeholders who participated in a roundtable discussion.
COPD is currently the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, and incidence rates have been increasing. COPD is estimated to affect 24 million American adults, with almost one-half remaining undiagnosed. If current trends continue, COPD is predicted to become the third leading cause of death and fifth leading cause of morbidity in the United States by 2020. This will cause a dramatic increase in use of health care resources, which is projected to reach annual total costs of $49.9 billion in 2010. Roundtable participants uniformly agreed that based on current and projected statistics, COPD is a major health concern. To address this growing concern, emphasis should be placed on the collaborative efforts of the health care community to become active in the detection, assessment, treatment, and management of patients with COPD and that pharmacists can contribute to each of these areas considerably.
Access in the community (often 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) combined with extensive clinical knowledge makes pharmacists uniquely capable of helping those with chronic disease, especially patients with COPD who require monitoring and encouragement throughout their lifelong treatment.