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Impact of a care pathway for COPD on adherence to guidelines and hospital readmission: a cluster randomized trial

Authors Vanhaecht K, Lodewijckx C, Sermeus W, Decramer M, Deneckere S, Leigheb F, Boto P, Kul S, Seys D, Panella M

Received 15 August 2016

Accepted for publication 26 September 2016

Published 23 November 2016 Volume 2016:11(1) Pages 2897—2908


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

Kris Vanhaecht,1,2 Cathy Lodewijckx,1 Walter Sermeus,1 Marc Decramer,3,4 Svin Deneckere,1,5 Fabrizio Leigheb,6 Paulo Boto,7 Seval Kul,8 Deborah Seys,1 Massimiliano Panella1,6

1Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Leuven Institute for Healthcare Policy, KU Leuven – University of Leuven, 2Department of Quality Management, University Hospitals Leuven, 3Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, KU Leuven – University of Leuven, 4University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven, 5Medical Department, Delta Hospitals Roeselare, Roeselare, Belgium; 6Department of Translational Medicine, University of Eastern Piedmont, Vercelli, Italy; 7Department of Health Services Policy and Management, Centro de Investigação em Saúde Pública, Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal; 8Department of Biostatistics, School of Medicine, University of Gaziantep, Gaziantep, Turkey

Purpose: Current in-hospital management of exacerbations of COPD is suboptimal, and patient outcomes are poor. The primary aim of this study was to evaluate whether implementation of a care pathway (CP) for COPD improves the 6 months readmission rate. Secondary outcomes were the 30 days readmission rate, mortality, length of stay and adherence to guidelines.
Patients and methods: An international cluster randomized controlled trial was performed in Belgium, Italy and Portugal. General hospitals were randomly assigned to an intervention group where a CP was implemented or a control group where usual care was provided. The targeted population included patients with COPD exacerbation.
Results: Twenty-two hospitals were included, whereof 11 hospitals (n=174 patients) were randomized to the intervention group and 11 hospitals (n=168 patients) to the control group. The CP had no impact on the 6 months readmission rate. However, the 30 days readmission rate was significantly lower in the intervention group (9.7%; 15/155) compared to the control group (15.3%; 22/144) (odds ratio =0.427; 95% confidence interval 0.222–0.822; P=0.040). Performance on process indicators was significantly higher in the intervention group for 2 of 24 main indicators (8.3%).
Conclusion: The implementation of this in-hospital CP for COPD exacerbation has no impact on the 6 months readmission rate, but it significantly reduces the 30 days readmission rate.

COPD, care pathway, readmission, quality improvement, cluster randomized controlled trial

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