COPD National Action Plan Released by National Institutes of Health

The action plan aims to reduce the burden of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease on patients and the healthcare system.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and partners recently released the first COPD National Action Plan. The plan details the patient-centric road to addressing the burden of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the third leading cause of death in the United States, according to a press release.

The action plan was released last week at the American Thoracic Society International Conference meeting.

COPD can hinder an individual’s ability to breathe, which can subsequently lead to disability and diminished quality of life. More than 16 million Americans have been diagnosed with COPD, while millions more are unaware they have the condition. The disease costs more than $32 billion per year, making it a growing public health concern.

The action plan was developed with input from the COPD community and was requested by congress. It offers a coordinated approach to end the burden of COPD on patients and the healthcare system by determining how physicians, educators, researchers, federal agencies, patients, advocates, and the biomedical industry can improve care, according to the release.

“This plan represents a new understanding of what it takes, at every level, to minimize the burden of COPD,” said Gary H. Gibbons, MD, director of NHLBI. “Through thoughtful collaboration with federal agencies, patients, advocates, and researchers, we will help the millions who continue to endure this debilitating disease.”

Although COPD cannot be cured, it can be prevented and treated. Additionally, early diagnosis can result in improved patient outcomes. The action plan was developed to build on what is already known about COPD.

The plan focuses on 5 goals: empowering patients, their families, and caregivers to reduce the burden of COPD; help healthcare professionals provide optimal care for patients; collect, analyze, report, and disseminate COPD data; increase and sustain research; and turn COPD recommendations into research and actions, according to the release.

To develop the COPD National Action Plan, the NHLBI organized workshops and convened the National COPD Town Hall, which included members of the COPD community, such as patients, families, healthcare providers, researchers, and industry spokespersons.

Input from the COPD community proved integral, as comments and advice from the COPD Town Hall informed the action plan. The COPD community remained involved as the goals of the plan were developed and refined, according to the release. In 2016, the NHLBI opened the draft plan to public comments, which helped inform the final plan.

The COPD National Action Plan provides a way for providers and advocates to raise awareness about the condition and to support activities that can alter the course of the disease, according to the release.

“The enthusiasm of members from the COPD community in sharing its insights has been invaluable throughout this process,” said James P. Kiley, PhD, director of NHLBI’s Division of Lung Diseases. “The different perspectives brought by those who live these issues every day contributed to making this a clear, coordinated way forward for all stakeholders. We look forward to working together to improve the lives of those living with COPD.”