Pragmatic and Observational Research
Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are common diseases which cause patients and society considerable difficulties. These are costly diseases which cause substantial morbidity and death. Health care policy makers have made improving outcomes in asthma and COPD a priority. Application of guideline recommended approaches to asthma and COPD care in the real-life setting has been emphasized but outcomes have not improved. Failure to improve outcomes may not be because of inconsistent applications of guideline recommendations, but rather because there are difficulties implementing the Expert Panel Report III (EPR 3) method for categorizing asthma severity and the Global Initiative for Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) method for diagnosing COPD. As these serve as the foundation for treatment recommendations for these diseases, alternative approaches should be considered for categorizing asthma severity and identifying COPD patients. Claims-based algorithms provide an intriguing option for identifying persistent asthma patients and symptomatic COPD patients in administrative databases. These methods could be used as the basis for pragmatic research, both retrospective and prospective, on assessing outcomes of guideline recommended treatment approaches in asthma and COPD. Important questions urgently need to be answered about how guideline recommended approaches regarding use of long-acting inhaled β-agonist/inhaled corticosteroid (LABA/ICS) in asthma and long-acting inhaled anti-muscarinic agent (LAMA) and LABA/ICS in COPD affect outcomes in real-life situations.
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Colice, G.L. (2012). Pragmatic research and outcomes in asthma and COPD. Pragmatic and Observational Research, 3, 11-25.