Intermountain develops tool to predict risk of hospitalization for COPD patients

Researchers at Intermountain Healthcare have developed a tool that utilizes laboratory tests to identify which patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are at a high risk of hospitalization. Findings were presented at the American Thoracic Society's annual international conference in San Diego.

The Laboratory-based Intermountain Validated Exacerbation tool (LIVE Score), aims to improve care for COPD patients by identifying when early interventions are needed to prevent hospitalization. In this study, researchers outlined the development of the tool and how it could be used to in the care continuum.

"We believe the ability to effectively identify these patients and intervene earlier in the course of a COPD exacerbation may help provide them with a higher quality of life, and potentially reduce medical costs associated with preventable hospital admissions," said principal investigator Denitza Blagev, MD, a pulmonary and critical care physician at Intermountain Medical Center and medical director for quality for Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City.

The LIVE Score was validated with 48,871 patients who were diagnosed with COPD between 2009 and 2016 at Intermountain Healthcare, as well as with 83,134 patient records from the Veterans Affairs National Health System. Researchers noted that most patients who experienced COPD exacerbations were in the two highest risk groups, while patients in the low risk group had fewer exacerbations.

"Because the LIVE Score is laboratory based and reproducible, we are able to calculate the LIVE score electronically and identify high risk patients at the time of contact," said Blagev. "We can also identify patients based on data previously collected, even if they are not in the hospital currently, and can begin to develop interventions targeting these highest risk patients."