The group focused on this agenda is called the COPD Case Finding Consortium; it is funded by the NIH and includes organizations and institutions such as the University of Michigan, Columbia University, the University of Nebraska, the University of Kentucky, United BioSource and the COPD Foundation.
COPD is under-diagnosed in the United States and were attempting to improve the diagnosis of COPD, and identify individuals in the healthcare system that will significantly benefit from current and future therapeutic options, explains Fernando J. Martinez, M.D., Principal Investigator for the Consortium and Professor in the Department of Medicine and Director of Pulmonary Diagnostic Services in the Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Department at the University of Michigan.
In the coming year, the Consortium will develop important questions that need to be asked in a simple fashion to individuals to aid in properly identifying COPD patients.
We need a sense of what minimum number of questions are required and how a simple lung function measure will affect these. Were excited about this aggressive campaign for COPD screening and identification. In the next couple of years well improve the ability to diagnose patients with COPD in the community, Dr. Martinez says. COPD is acknowledged by the NIH as one of the key health care problems that needs to be addressed in the United States and theyve made a very concerted effort on multiple fronts to enhance research to better understand the biology of the disease, why it varies from patient to patient, and how to increase diagnosis.
The Consortiums beginning came out of a 2009 COPD Foundation/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute workshop, whose purpose was to review the status of case finding instruments of COPD.
After this workshop, the COPD Foundation began its Mobile Spirometry Unit (MSU) that traveled, and still travels, around the United States, attending health fairs and giving free COPD screenings. To date, the MSU has screened over 90,000 people to determine if they are at risk for COPD.
Currently, the Consortium is conducting multi-faceted reviews of available literature and instruments and review data sets.