Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a highly prevalent condition and the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. Despite experiencing similar symptom burdens and reductions in quality of life to patients with cancer, hospitalized patients with COPD receive specialized palliative care (PC) services far less commonly. Correspondingly, patients with COPD tend to receive more aggressive care near the end of life than patients with cancer or other diseases. A key barrier to improving care for patients with COPD is the absence of an evidence-based method to identify patients who may derive the greatest benefit from specialized PC services. The goal of this University of Pennsylvania Heath System-based study is to provide foundational evidence to inform the development of a reliable, scalable, and patient-centered approach for prioritizing delivery of strained PC resources. Through mixed qualitative and quantitative methods, we aim to understand patients’ perspectives of their PC needs in the hospital; determine the frequency and intensity of PC needs among hospitalized patients with COPD; and develop a natural language processing (NLP) algorithm to identify such needs in a high-throughput manner from narrative clinical notes.
National Palliative Care Research Center