The main objective of this study was to assess the effects of intensive medical education courses on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)-related rehospitalizations and emergency department visits and the secondary aim was to monitor quality of life.
This cohort prospective study included 76 group D COPD patients (pts.). Patients from the intervention group (IG, 52 pts.) underwent a program comprising two components: a comprehensive medical education program (1h/day for 5 days) and a specific drug therapy. Control group (CG, 24 pts.) received only drug therapy. Patients underwent spirometry and completed St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) at the time of inclusion and at periodical evaluations performed every three months for a year.
Patients included in a medical education program showed significant decrease of exacerbation rate compared with the CG. Patients from the IG group had fewer emergency department visits within a year compared with the CG. Patients from the IG had significantly better quality of life scores (both at 3 and 6 months) compared with the CG.
This study reveals that an adequate medical education program is associated with a decreased rate of COPD-related hospitalizations. The implementation of a medical education program as an integrated part of therapy could lead to a more accurate self-management of the disease.