Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common cause of suffering and death. Evidence-based management of COPD by general practitioners (GPs) is crucial for decreasing the impact of the disease. Efficient strategies include early diagnosis, smoking cessation and multimodal treatment.
To describe knowledge about and skills for managing COPD in GPs in Sweden.
Prior to COPD education (the PRIMAIR Study), GPs at primary health care centers (PHCCs) in Stockholm replied to 13 written, patient-case based, multiple choice and free-text questions about COPD. Their knowledge and practical management skills were assessed by assigned points that were analyzed with non-parametric tests.
Overall, 250 GPs at 34 PHCCs replied (89% response rate). Total mean score was 9.9 (maximum 26). Scores were highest on 'management of smoking cessation', 'follow-up after exacerbation' and 'diagnostic procedures'. Spirometry was used frequently, although interpretation skills were suboptimal. 'Management of maintenance therapy', 'management of multimorbidity' and 'interprofessional cooperation' had mediocre scores. Scores were unrelated to whether there was a nurse-led asthma/COPD clinic at the PHCC.
Swedish GPs' knowledge of COPD and adherence to current guidelines seem insufficient. A nurse-led asthma/COPD clinic at the PHCC does not correlate with sufficient COPD skills in the GPs. The relevance of this study to participants' actual clinical practice and usefulness of easy-to-access clinical guides are interesting topics for future investigation. To identify problem areas, we suggest using questionnaires prior to educational interventions. Key Points General practitioners (GPs) play a crucial role in providing evidence-based care for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who are treated in primary care. Swedish GPs' knowledge about COPD and adherence to current guidelines seem insufficient. Areas in greatest need of improvement are spirometry interpretation, management of maintenance therapy, management of multimorbidity in patients with COPD and interprofessional cooperation.
Cites: Scand J Prim Health Care. 2006 Jun;24(2):81-7 PMID 16690555
Cites: Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis. 2011;6:659-67 PMID 22259242