Massachusetts Medical Society: Helping Patients with COPD Breathe Easier

Helping Patients with COPD Breathe Easier

Helping Patients with COPD Breathe Easier

This course has expired and is available for content purposes only


The goal of the educational program is to help practitioners assess the comparative effectiveness and safety of medications used to manage the symptoms of COPD; understand the evidence regarding appropriate therapy; weigh the benefits, risks, and value of treatment options; and improve the quality of prescribing and patient care. In addition to providing this evidence document, the education program uses an innovative approach: academic detailing, which involves one-on-one educational sessions in physicians' offices with trained outreach educators who present the educational material interactively. Reference cards for clinicians and education materials for family members are also provided.

Learning Objectives

After reading this material, a participant will be familiar with:

  • Use spirometry data and clinical symptoms to diagnose and follow COPD patients according to the GOLD 4-stage classification system.
  • For patients who smoke, begin by assessing their willingness to quit, and then tailor recommendations appropriate for their stage of readiness.
  • Prescribe a regimen of exercise, good nutrition, and immunizations at all stages of COPD.
  • Match drug therapy to disease severity according to the new GOLD 4-stage system.
  • Prescribe oxygen for patients with chronic hypoxemia.
  • Treat acute exacerbations aggressively with short-acting bronchodilators, systemic steroids and antibiotics where appropriate.


Michael Fischer, M.D., M.S. is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a primary care internist who studies cost-effective drug use in outpatient practices.

Jerry Avorn, M.D. is a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Chief of the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics at Brigham and Women's Hospital. An internist, he has worked as a primary care physician and geriatrician and has been studying drug use and its outcomes for over 30 years.

Niteesh K. Choudhry, M.D., Ph.D. is a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a hospitalist at Brigham and Women's Hospital. His research focuses on the use of medications to treat common chronic conditions.

Michael H. Cho, M.D., M.P.H. is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and the Division of Network Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital Medicine and Harvard Medical School.

Ellen Dancel, PharmD, M.P.H., is the Director of Clinical Materials Development at Alosa Health. 

Stephen Braun, B.A. is a medical writer based in Amherst, MA. 

Carolyn E. Come, M.D., M.P.H. is an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a pulmonary and critical care physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Her primary research interests are exploring the association between COPD and cardiovascular disease and the impact of lung volume reduction on cardiopulmonary physiology.

Course Fees

Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) Member: $30.00
Non-MMS Member: $55.00
Allied Health Professionals: $24.00 
Format: Text & Graphics


Text & Graphics

CME Credit

2.50 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™

Accreditation Statement
This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the Massachusetts Medical Society and Alosa Health, Inc. The Massachusetts Medical Society is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. 

AMA Credit Designation Statement
The Massachusetts Medical Society designates this enduring material for a maximum of 2.50 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.  Physicians should claim only credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

National Commission on Certification of Physicians Assistant (NCCPA).

Physician Assistants may claim 2.50 Category 1 credits for completing this activity. NCCPA accepts AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™ from organizations accredited by ACCME or a recognized state medical society.

A score of 70% or higher is required to receive  AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™

Activity Term

Original Release Date: February 28, 2017
Review Date: N/A
Termination Date: February 28, 2020

System requirements:

Windows, XP, Vista, 7, 8 
Mac OSX 10.6 higher 
Most modern browsers including: 
Firefox 18.0+ 
Chrome 26+ 
Safari 5+ 
Flash player is required for some Online CME courses.

iOS devices beginning with OS version 5 or higher (includes, iPhone, ipad and iTouch devices) 
Android devices including tablets and phones. 
Windows RT and tablets on Windows 8 are also supported.

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