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Evidence to Improve Care

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)


Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee Recommendation

The Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee recommends that any provincial strategy on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) address gaps in patient and public knowledge about this disease and its causes, management, and course. Effective interventions for improving lay understanding of COPD should be identified

Read the full OHTAC Recommendation Report



Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a serious and progressive respiratory disease that causes lung damage and blocks the airways. It is the fourth leading cause of death in Canada and a leading cause of illness. People with COPD may experience chronic and progressive breathlessness, cough, sputum or mucus production, wheezing, and chest congestion. Furthermore, people with COPD often experience secondary effects, such as weight loss and malnutrition, as well as additional diseases or conditions.


Treatment Strategies for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

The following COPD management strategies were reviewed to understand which strategies produce the best patient outcomes and are most efficient for the health system:

  • Influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations
  • Smoking cessation
  • Multidisciplinary care
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation
  • Long-term oxygen therapy
  • Non-invasive positive pressure ventilation (delivered through a nasal mask or face mask) for sudden or long-term respiratory failure
  • Hospital-at-home for a sudden worsening of COPD
  • Telemedicine

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Evidentiary Framework (PDF)
March 2012

Influenza and Pneumococcal Vaccinations for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysi (PDF)
March 2012

Smoking Cessation for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis (PDF)
March 2012

Community-Based Multidisciplinary Care for Patients With Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis(PDF)
March 2012

Pulmonary Rehabilitation for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis (PDF)
March 2012

Long-Term Oxygen Therapy for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis (PDF)
March 2012

Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation for Acute Respiratory Failure Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis (PDF)
March 2012

Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation for Chronic Respiratory Failure Patients With Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis (PDF)
March 2012

Hospital-at-Home Programs for Patients With Acute Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis (PDF)
March 2012

Home Telehealth for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis (PDF)
March 2012

Home Telehealth for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis (PDF)
March 2012

Cost-Effectiveness of Interventions for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Using an Ontario Policy Model (PDF)
March 2012


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The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care endorses this recommendation.

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has provided the following response: The Ministry agrees with this recommendation and has taken signification action on COPD care and prevention that align with Health Quality Ontario's advice. Many of the sub-recommendations have been included in the Clinical Handbook for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (Acute and Postacute), which is a publicly funded quality-based procedure. As recommended, the Ministry has also increased access to smoking cessation programs for patients in both the hospital and primary care setting, including patients with COPD, and has worked to increase access to influenza and pneumococcal vaccines among COPD patients.




Health Technology Assessment at Health Quality Ontario

As part of our core function to promote health care supported by the best available evidence, we use established scientific methods to analyze the evidence for a wide range of health interventions, including diagnostic tests, medical devices, interventional and surgical procedures, health care programs and models of care. These analyses are informed by input from a range of individuals, including patients and clinical experts. The Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee (OHTAC) — a committee of the Health Quality Ontario board of directors — reviews the evidence and makes recommendations about whether health care interventions should be publicly funded or not. Draft recommendations are posted on the Health Quality Ontario website for feedback. Final recommendations are approved by our board of directors and then shared with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. For more detailed information, visit our Evidence to Improve Care pages.


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