Design, rationale, and baseline demographics of SEARCH I: A prospective cluster-randomized study

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Questionnaires are available to identify patients at risk for several chronic diseases, including COPD, but are infrequently utilized in primary care. COPD is often underdiagnosed, while at the same time the US Preventive Services Task Force recommends against spirometric screening for COPD in asymptomatic adults. Use of a symptom-based questionnaire and subsequent handheld spirometric device depending on the answers to the questionnaire is a promising approach to identify patients at risk for COPD. Screening, Evaluating and Assessing Rate CHanges of diagnosing respiratory conditions in primary care 1 (SEARCH I) was a prospective cluster-randomized study in 168 US primary care practices evaluating the effect of the COPD-Population Screener (COPD-PS™) questionnaire. The effect of this questionnaire alone or sequentially with the handheld copd-6TM device was evaluated on new diagnoses of COPD and on respiratory diagnostic practice patterns (including referrals for pulmonary function testing, referrals to pulmonologists, new diagnoses of COPD, and new respiratory medication prescriptions). Participating practices entered a total of 9704 consecutive consenting subjects aged ≥ 40 years attending primary care clinics. Study arm results were compared for new COPD diagnosis rates between usual care and (1) COPD-PS plus copd-6 and (2) COPD-PS alone. A cluster-randomization design allowed comparison of the intervention effects at the practice level instead of individuals being the subjects of the intervention. Regional principal investigators controlled the flow of study information to sub-investigators at participating practices to reduce observation bias (Hawthorne effect). The results of SEARCH I, to be published subsequently, will provide insight into the real world utility of the COPD-PS as well as two-stage COPD case finding with COPD-PS and copd-6. © 2012 Albers et al, publisher and licensee Dove Medical Press Ltd.




Albers, F., Shaikh, A., & Iqbal, A. (2012). Design, rationale, and baseline demographics of SEARCH I: A prospective cluster-randomized study. International Journal of COPD, 7, 437–445.

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