Blue Health Intelligence Data Report Finds Decline in Chronic Pulmonary Disease

CHICAGO, Feb. 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- New research from Blue Health Intelligence(®) (BHI(®)) finds that the prevalence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) among Americans aged 40 to 64 fell 4% from 2017 to 2019, resulting in 22 cases per 1,000 commercially insured patients.

"However small this decline may seem at first glance, this improvement is welcome news," said Swati Abbott, BHI's CEO.

COPD has risen steadily to become the fourth-leading cause of death in the U.S., and the conditions underlying this disorder contribute to higher rates of mortality for individuals infected with COVID-19.

"This research provides a solid baseline for enabling accurate predictions of risk in individual patients so we can intervene in time to better prevent or lessen the severity of COPD," Abbott said.

The study finds that for health plan members with COPD diagnoses, six categories of medical conditions accounted for over 75% of total medical spend. Cancers, cardiovascular, and respiratory conditions accounted for over 50%. Individuals suffering from COPD were nearly six times more likely than other patients to visit EDs for treatment, a significant contributor to high healthcare costs.

The report, "Using BHI Data to Uncover Improvement Opportunities in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease," was conducted using BHI's National Data Repository, the most robust and conformed claims database in the nation. The data set reflects the care experiences of 217 million unique health plan members and 22.6 billion de-identified and HIPAA-complaint medical and pharmacy claims.

In 2019, the rate of COPD was 4.5% higher for women than men, a factor of their typically smaller lung size and the interaction between estrogen and nicotine in women who smoke. Men also experienced a more significant decline in rates of occurrence of the disorder from 2017 to 2019. This disparity existed in all age groups, except for men ages 60 to 64.

The link to smoking as a leading cause of COPD appears in the state-by-state data contained in the BHI report. West Virginia and Kentucky had the highest state rates of COPD, with 40 or more individuals out of 1,000 suffering from it. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these two states also had the highest cigarette smoking rates in the nation in 2018.

About Blue Health Intelligence
Blue Health Intelligence(®) (BHI(®)) delivers insights that empower healthcare organizations to improve care, reduce costs, and optimize performance. BHI's team of data analysts, clinicians, IT experts, and epidemiologists provide analytics, software-as-a-service, and in-depth consulting to payers, providers, employers, medical device companies, and other healthcare stakeholders. BHI is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and carries the trade name of Health Intelligence Company, LLC.

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SOURCE Blue Health Intelligence