A cross-sectional evaluation of the idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis patient satisfaction and quality of life with a care coordinator
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BACKGROUND: Canadian and international guidelines recommend specialized, multidisciplinary teams for the treatment of patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). The objective of this cross-sectional clinical study was to investigate the effect of a care coordinator on IPF patient satisfaction and quality of life. METHODS: Forty IPF patients were enrolled from the practices of two physicians (n=20/physician), with either low (LCU) or high-coordinator use (HCU). Patient satisfaction was measured with modified FAMCARE and IPF Care UK Patient Support Program (UK-CARE) surveys. Health related quality of life (HRQoL) was assessed with the living with IPF impacts (L-IPFi) survey. An economic model assessed the impact of the coordinator; staff surveys informed patient management requirements, and costs were derived from published literature. RESULTS: Patient satisfaction was similar between the clinics; a trend (P=0.1) towards increased satisfaction among HCU patients was observed. Patients in the HCU clinic reported increased satisfaction (P<0.05) with their current care compared with care prior to joining the tertiary-care clinic, while LCU patients did not. IPF patient HRQoL did not differ between clinics. The coordinator was estimated to alleviate approximately 30% of a physician's IPF-related work load, and to facilitate the care of more patients per physician. Modelled estimates suggest the coordinator lead to annual cost-savings of $137,212. CONCLUSIONS: Reliance upon a coordinator during routine management of IPF patients may improve patient satisfaction, spare physician time and lead to annual cost-savings. Future studies should examine the impact of a coordinator on healthcare resource utilization.
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