TOWARD BETTER COPD OUTCOMES: The Critical Role of Primary Care for Early Diagnosis and Guideline-directed Management

Friday, 9/29 – 11:10am – 12:30pm


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is severely undertreated, as many patients do not receive appropriate maintenance pharmacotherapy and as many as 12 million others are living with undiagnosed COPD. As a result, COPD patients frequently experience exacerbations associated with an accelerated decline in lung function, impaired quality of life, hospitalization, and increased mortality. Primary care physicians (PCPs) are in an ideal position to recognize the early signs of COPD and practice guideline-recommended case-finding and COPD-treatment procedures. However, many barriers prevent prompt recognition and management of COPD, including symptoms that are non-specific, lack of awareness of treatment guidelines, and insufficient patient engagement.

Because many respiratory conditions present with similar symptoms, patients with COPD may be misdiagnosed or undiagnosed and many are not engaged in appropriate routine care for their conditions, causing a costly cycle of exacerbation and progressive lung damage. In addition, many patients attribute their shortness of breath and decreased ability to perform usual activities to the normal aging process and only seek treatment for acute exacerbations.

Thus, an awareness of risk factors and symptom presentations in relation to patient histories and physical exams can assist PCPs in performing appropriate diagnostic tests to identify COPD patients and ensure appropriate treatments based on established guidelines. Pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic therapies exist that reduce current symptoms of COPD and reduce future risk of disease progression and exacerbations. However, as new data are emerging, delays exist among clinicians in adopting evidence-based solutions to prevent exacerbations and ultimately improve patient health and quality of life (QoL).

Learning Objectives

  • Perform proactive symptom assessment and active case-finding to identify patients with COPD early in the disease course
  • Recommend appropriate guideline-concordant maintenance pharmacotherapy and include nonpharmacological strategies, such as pulmonary rehabilitation, to reduce the risk of exacerbation and improve patient QoL
  • Facilitate patient self-management by adopting a multimodal approach to COPD management, utilizing the interprofessional care team to optimize patient engagement


This activity is supported by an independent educational grant from Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Accreditation Information

Physicians: This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of Boston University School of Medicine and Rockpointe. Boston University School of Medicine is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Boston University School of Medicine designates this live activity for a maximum of 1.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

ABIM MOC: Successful completion of this CME activity, which includes participation in the evaluation component, enables the participant to earn up to 1.25 MOC points in the American Board of Internal Medicine’s (ABIM) Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program. Participants will earn MOC points equivalent to the amount of CME credits claimed for the activity. It is the CME activity provider’s responsibility to submit participant completion information to ACCME for the purpose of granting ABIM MOC credit.

AAFP: This live activity, TOWARD BETTER COPD OUTCOMES: The Critical Role of Primary Care for Early Diagnosis and Guideline-directed Management, from 9/29/17 – 11/18/17, has been reviewed and is acceptable for up to 1.25 Prescribed credits by the American Academy of Family Physicians. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Faculty Information

Keith Robinson, MD, MS, FCCP

Clinical Professor
Florida International University College of Medicine
Miami, FL