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A case scenario study for the assessment of physician’s behavior in the management of COPD: the WHY study

Authors Kilinc O, Konya A, Akgun M, Uzaslan E, Sayiner A

Received 20 October 2017

Accepted for publication 21 May 2018

Published 5 September 2018 Volume 2018:13 Pages 2751—2758

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/COPD.S154616

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Charles Downs

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell


Oguz Kilinc,1 Aylin Konya,2 Metin Akgun,3 Esra Uzaslan,4 Abdullah Sayiner5

1Department of Chest Diseases, Dokuz Eylül University Medical Faculty, Izmir, Turkey; 2Department of Medical Management, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Istanbul, Turkey; 3Department of Chest Diseases, Atatürk University Medical Faculty, Erzurum, Turkey; 4Department of Chest Diseases, Uludağ University Medical Faculty, Bursa, Turkey; 5Department of Chest Diseases, Ege University Medical Faculty, Izmir, Turkey

Purpose: COPD diagnosis is mainly based on clinical judgment of physicians. Physicians do not also refer to COPD guidelines in their daily practice. This study aimed to assess attitudes of physicians regarding COPD diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up and to identify the factors influencing physicians’ decisions in clinical practice.
Patients and methods: Fifty physicians were selected from 12 EuroStat NUTS 2 regions and asked to assess seven fictitious case scenarios. The following five scenarios described patients with COPD: Case Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) A-smoker and Case GOLD A-nonsmoker were previously undiagnosed patients presenting with dyspnea, Case GOLD D-smoker and GOLD B-exsmoker were COPD patients presenting with exacerbation, Case GOLD B-smoker was a previously diagnosed COPD patient with dyspnea in stable phase, Case asthma–COPD overlap syndrome, and Case obesity hypoventilation syndrome. Patients’ history, physical examination findings, pulmonary function tests, and X-ray images were prepared before the study by an experts’ committee and provided to the physicians upon their request, until they reached a final decision. The physicians completed a questionnaire including information about their clinical practices and institutions.
Results: According to the GOLD 2015 recommendations, of the physicians, 44% performed guideline-concordant diagnosis in the first five scenarios, who were all COPD patients, and 6% performed guideline-concordant diagnosis in all cases. There was a negative correlation between high workload and making a guideline-concordant diagnosis (P=0.038, rho =-0.417). Even when the physicians made a guideline-concordant diagnosis of COPD, only a minority (10%–22%) used the GOLD classification. Logistic regression analysis revealed that working in a tertiary health care center was a significant factor in favor of establishing a guideline-concordant diagnosis of COPD (P=0.029, OR =6.139 [95% CI: 1.20–31.32]).
Conclusion: Management of COPD patients in Turkey does not generally follow the GOLD criteria but is rather based on physicians’ clinical experience. Heavy workload appears to adversely affect the correctness of clinical decisions.

Keywords: COPD, practice pattern, real-life scenario, physician decision, GOLD criteria

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