CFHI Supports Projects to Improve Care for COPD Patients: Teams from Across Canada will Implement Leading Practices

CFHI Supports Projects to Improve Care for COPD Patients: Teams from Across Canada will Implement Leading Practices

Ottawa, Canada – October 6, 2014: The Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement (CFHI) today pledged nearly $1 million to teams from healthcare organizations in all 10 provinces to transform care for people living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and support their caregivers. More than 11,000 people living with COPD are expected to benefit from this pan-Canadian initiative.

Nineteen teams from across Canada participating in the INSPIRED Approaches to COPD: Improving Care and Creating Value collaborative will each receive $50,000 to adapt and implement an approach that reduced by 60 percent emergency room visits, hospital admissions and days in hospital among participating COPD patients at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The INSPIRED COPD Outreach Program™ also helps caregivers of people living with COPD. Working in partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd. (BICL), CFHI will provide the 19 selected healthcare organizations with funding, coaching, educational materials and tools in a quality improvement collaborative aimed at improving the care of people living with moderate to very severe COPD. In Halifax, the INSPIRED initiative contained hospital-based COPD care costs by $900,000 – more than three times the annual operating costs of the program.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is the fourth leading cause of death in Canada and a major driver of hospital visits. A quarter (25%) of Canadians over the age of 35 can expect to be diagnosed with the disease at some point in their life, and the number of people living with COPD is rising. In Nova Scotia, Dr. Graeme Rocker, Medical Director of the INSPIRED COPD Outreach ProgramTM at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre, developed an approach to better meet the needs of COPD patients and their caregivers through self-management, education, psychosocial/spiritual care support, and advance care planning.

Teams involved in the INSPIRED collaborative include healthcare administrators, physicians, respiratory therapists, nurse practitioners and others – as well as patients and their caregivers. CFHI is providing funding and other support, including evaluation of the impact of this collaborative on patient care and healthcare spending.

For a full list of funded teams and their projects, visit


  • COPD is a common, progressive, incurable but treatable lung condition with uncomfortable breathing as the predominant symptom.  
  • COPD is a primary cause of hospital admissions in Canada, and second only to chest pain as a medical cause for emergency room visits.  
  • COPD exacerbations cost Canadian healthcare systems more than $750-million a year – an estimate that does not include the costs of routine care. It also does not factor in that COPD exacerbations are underdiagnosed.  
  • Seventeen of the healthcare teams participating in the INSPIRED collaborative estimate that they spend a combined $212 million a year treating COPD exacerbations. 
  • Six months after enrollment in the INSPIRED program in Halifax, patients’ emergency room visits, hospitalizations and days in hospital fell by 60-80 percent by comparison with their previous facility usage.  
  • In 2014, the INSPIRED COPD Outreach Program in Halifax received an Accreditation Canada Leading Practice designation as a noteworthy example of high-quality leadership and service delivery in COPD care. 
  • The INSPIRED Approaches to COPD Care is the second collaborative in CFHI’s Spreading Healthcare Innovations Initiative. These collaboratives bring together organizations to make changes that improve patient experiences and outcomes; better coordinate approaches to complex health needs; and maximize healthcare efficiencies.  
  • BICL is supporting the collaborative through $600,000 in direct funding to CFHI in addition to making educational and capacity-building supports available to teams should they wish to use these resources.


Through funding for the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement, our Government is supporting healthcare partnerships and innovative ways of improving patient care. This collaborative approach is a great example of how health system leaders can work together in ways that will lead to better care for Canadians struggling with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.”
The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health

“Without the INSPIRED program, I would probably be back in hospital… Before I started this program, I had no idea what was going on with me physically. Now I know what’s coming and what to expect. It’s been a good program… It’s inspiring.”
Mr. David Smith, patient with COPD and INSPIRED program participant

“Across Canada and around the world, there are innovative ways of improving patient care and health outcomes while managing healthcare costs. Dr. Rocker’s INSPIRED COPD Outreach Program is a shining example of patient and family centered innovation and the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement is pleased to help Canadian healthcare organizations implement this model.”
Maureen O’Neil, O.C., President of the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement

“Our company is proud to partner with the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement in an effort to bring better care and outcomes to patients. Collaboratives such as these are critical to the future sustainability of Canada’s healthcare system.” Richard Mole, President and Chief Executive Officer, Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd.

“COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in Canada and is on the rise. Finding novel ways to treat chronic illnesses such as COPD should be applauded.”
Debra Lynkowski, President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Lung Association

“I’m delighted that the success we achieved in Halifax can be shared with healthcare providers and teams across the country. The INSPIRED collaborative will help spread a model of care for patients with COPD more widely in Canada.”
Dr. Graeme Rocker, Medical Director, INSPIRED COPD Outreach ProgramTM, Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre, Halifax, and Clinical Improvement Advisor and INSPIRED Collaborative Lead Faculty, CFHI, Ottawa


For more information, please contact:

Joel Baglole
Senior Communications Specialist
Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement
C: 613-797-6481