Summary An ageing population and changing lifestyles are increasing the burden of chronic diseases, among them chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). To reduce the impact on patients, healthcare systems and society as a whole, a new, integrated model of care is needed. This must bridge the gaps between strata of healthcare provision, and empower patients and carers. It must cover all aspects, from prevention and early diagnosis, through personalised care plans all the way to end-of-life care.
A number of pilot studies have begun to address these issues, and a new European project aims to move towards a wider implementation of such a model, using information and communication technology (ICT) to link stakeholders at all levels. If such initiatives are successful, we can hope for a brighter future for COPD patients, and a lighter burden for society.
- ©ERS 2008