A clinical interventional study into Airways disease case finding and complex case management (ASSIST)

Start Date: 9 Sep 2016 End Date: 18 Dec 2018

The problem

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a lung disease normally caused by smoking. It is a worldwide concern and in the UK around 900,000 people have a formal diagnosis. However, it is believed that over 2 million more people may have COPD but be unaware that they have it. A delay in diagnosis is known to hasten the decline in lung function and worsen disease severity making treatment options less useful and more expensive in the long term.

The solution

The aim of this study is to find the best way to identify patients who have not yet been diagnosed with COPD, and also identify patients with more complex disease. Feedback from the practice staff will be sought and from patients newly diagnosed with COPD to understand their experiences and needs. Patient records for 12 months before and after the intervention will be compared to see if there has been an improvement to the health of patients.

Expected outcome

The study will also look at whether there has been:
• A reduction in health care visits
• A decrease in rescue medicine usage for respiratory problems 
• Whether this has saved the NHS Money 

A training programme will be devised to educate Primary Care Staff as well as offering bespoke packages to up-skill existing staff.

Dr Tom Wilkinson