New Advances in COPD Care | Penn Precision Medicine

(soft music) – I once took care of a young patient who was being admitted to
the ICU every month or two with renal failure or an infection. I discovered the real problem was that he didn’t have bus tokens to get to the pharmacy
for his medications. He was trading his tokens
in exchange for rent. There are so many patients whose underlying reasons for coming to the hospital aren’t on a doctor’s
official diagnosis list. This is especially true
for patients living with chronic obstructive
pulmonary disease, or COPD. These patients often present to the hospital with shortness of breath, but may also be struggling with management of heart failure, limited access to medications, unstable housing, other
severe unpalliated symptoms or other challenges in their lives. If we could identify such problems early, we could do something about them before a patient ends up in the hospital. The information needed
to identify such problems usually isn’t found in the
official diagnosis list, but may be mentioned in
the unstructured text of encounter notes that
are written by clinicians. With support from the Penn
Center for Precision Medicine, we are taking two important steps forward in the care of patients with COPD. First, we are interviewing patients and their caregivers to understand, in their own words, the physical, social, and economic
barriers to good health. Second, we are using
natural language processing, techniques that allow
computers to analyze text data, to read the text of
patients’ clinical notes and identify these barriers. Finally, we will share these techniques and software tools widely
with other health systems to identify patients with
surmountable barriers to achieving good health. These tools will form the basis for future randomized clinical trials aimed at improving
population health management for people living with COPD. I’m Dr. Gary Weissman, and this is Precision Medicine at Penn. (soft music)

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