Governing health bodies around the world continue to revise and improve treatment best practices for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) thanks to ongoing research and medical advancements. The results of a recent research effort made available by the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG), includes evidence-based guidelines for the clinical management of COPD, along with other conditions. The report seeks to identify high-quality recommendations that may help in revising the disease management program (DMP), however, it was noted in the report that no urgent revisions are needed for any part of DMP.
According to Medical News Today, as part of the procedure, the IQWiG released the preliminary report in May 2013, which included the initial results of the effort, after which interested parties submitted their comments on the proposed recommendations. After the completion of the comment submission process, a revision of the preliminary report was compiled and submitted in November of 2013 as a final document to the Federal Joint Committee — commissioning agency. The publication of the final report was accompanied by the publication of submitted comments in a separate report by the committee. The services of external experts were employed for the preparation of the report.
The German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care identified that the guidelines for recommendations for COPD treatment were fairly consistent with the DMP requirements, but lacked additional specifications and supplementation in terms of wording and terminology. The published recommendations were more coherent and detailed as compared to the DMP directive; for example, the DMP directive clearly states that the COPD patients should have access to a structured training program, but lacks necessary details about the nature of content that should be delivered in these programs.
Details of the guidelines:
IQWiG periodically revises the DMP by employing systemic search tools to identify advanced guidelines that are then assessed for recommendation on the basis of methodological quality. These recommendations are then compared to the existing specifications and recommendations of German DMP.
Periodic revisions are made when a new study provides significant evidence to modify the course of disease or a more effective treatment to address the issue. The institutes have a duty to identify the differences between the current guideline and the DMP recommendations, which is then followed by G-BA’s analysis to ascertain the need for DMP revision.
In the current investigation, German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care included 13 recommended guidelines; 4 of which dealt primarily with management of COPD patients. Remaining guidelines addressed the individual aspects of patient care like cessation of cigarette smoking and specifics of chronic metabolic conditions like alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (an enzymatic deficiency that is genetically inherited).
COPD is a recognized health issue in Germany and other European nations, as well as the United States. According to recent estimates, approximately 2.7 million Germans are currently suffering from COPD.