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Objective: To investigate the long term effectiveness of integrated disease management delivered in primary care on quality of life in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) compared with usual care. Design: 24 month, multicentre, pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial, Netherlands Trial Register NTR2268. Method: Setting: 40 general practices in the western part of the Netherlands. Patients with COPD according to GOLD (Global Initiative for COPD) criteria. Exclusion criteria were terminal illness, cognitive impairment, alcohol or drug misuse, and inability to fill in Dutch questionnaires. Practices were included if they were willing to create a multidisciplinary COPD team. General practitioners, practice nurses, and specialised physiotherapists in the intervention group received a two day training course on incorporating integrated disease management in practice, including early recognition of exacerbations and self management, smoking cessation, physiotherapeutic reactivation, optimal diagnosis, and drug adherence. Additionally, the course served as a network platform and collaborating healthcare providers designed an individual practice plan to integrate integrated disease management into daily practice. The control group continued usual care (based on international guidelines). The primary outcome was difference in health status at 12 months, measured by the Clinical COPD Questionnaire (CCQ)? quality of life, Medical Research Council dyspnoea, exacerbation related outcomes, self management, physical activity, and level of integrated care (PACIC) were also assessed as secondary outcomes. Results:Of a total of 1086 patients from 40 clusters, 20 practices (554 patients) were randomly assigned to the intervention group and 20 clusters (532 patients) to the usual care group. No difference was seen between groups in the CCQ at 12 months (mean difference 0.01, 95% confidence interval 0.10 to 0.08? P=0.8). After 12 months, no differences were seen in secondary outcomes between groups, except for the PACIC domain "followup/ coordination" (indicating improved integration of care) and proportion of physically active patients. Exacerbation rates as well as number of days in hospital did not differ between groups. After 24 months, no differences were seen in outcomes, except for the PACIC followup/ coordination domain. Conclusion:In this pragmatic study, an integrated disease management approach delivered in primary care showed no additional benefit compared with usual care, except improved level of integrated care and a self reported higher degree of daily activities. The contradictory findings to earlier positive studies could be explained by differences between interventions (provider versus patient targeted), selective reporting of positive trials, or little room for improvement in the already well developed Dutch healthcare system.


Journal article


Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde

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