Twenty-four million Americans live with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a progressive lung disease that makes it difficult to breathe and is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Most COPD patients have both chronic bronchitis and emphysema, conditions that together cause symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and extreme fatigue with activity.

November is COPD Awareness Month and a good time to take a look at your hospital’s disease management efforts around this disease. Beyond the obvious benefit of improving community health, keeping COPD patients healthy and out of the hospital has a financial upside. Under the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP), administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, U.S. hospitals are financially penalized for excessive rates of avoidable 30-day COPD hospital readmissions.

Research has shown that integrated patient education efforts can play a crucial role in keeping COPD patients out of the hospital following discharge. Teaching inpatients about disease management, and teaching self-care skills such as proper inhaler use, help patients to manage their disease at home successfully. Equally important to keeping COPD symptoms under control is supporting these patients with smoking cessation information and annual flu vaccination.

The Wellness Network offers COPD programming on all of these topics through its Patient Channel subscription. Engaging video programming can be accessed on screen in the hospital room and after discharge via an online portal, so patients can have access to this valuable information when and where they need it. To find out more, call 1-888-219-4678 or email

Around the Web:

We’ve curated a list of COPD resources from around the web to help you with your hospital’s readmissions reduction efforts: