Pulmonary and primary care experts aim to reduce the time to diagnose interstitial lung diseases

The American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST) and Three Lakes Foundation are announcing a steering committee of experts in the fields of pulmonary medicine and primary care medicine to lead an initiative called Bridging Specialties™: Timely Diagnosis for ILD Patients.

Composed of pulmonologists, primary care physicians, and a nursing professional, the steering committee will work to create materials that will aid in reducing the time it takes to reach a diagnosis for interstitial lung diseases (ILDs) like pulmonary fibrosis (PF).

Affecting about 400,000 people in the United States, ILDs comprise a group of diseases that cause lung inflammation and/or permanent scars and are frequently misdiagnosed as more common lung diseases. Some studies show that reaching an appropriate diagnosis for rarer lung diseases can take upwards of several years.

Members of the Bridging Specialties™: Timely Diagnosis for ILD Patients steering committee include individuals from leading medical institutions, health systems and organizations across the country:

  • Daniel F. Dilling, MD, FCCP, Professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care, Loyola University Chicago, Stritch School of Medicine, Maywood, IL.
  • Andrew Duggan, MPH, Patient Engagement and Innovation Leader, Boston, MA.
  • Jessica Glennie, APRN, MSN, Nurse practitioner, Interstitial Lung Disease Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH.
  • Timothy Hernandez, MD, Family Medicine Physician, Chief Executive Officer of Entira Family Clinics, San Antonio, TX.
  • Corey D. Kershaw, MD, FCCP, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX.
  • Tejaswini Kulkarni, MD, MPH, FCCP, Assistant Professor, Director, Interstitial Lung Disease Program, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL.
  • William Lago, MD, Family Medicine Physician, Wooster Family Health Center, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Wooster, OH.
  • Andrew H. Limper, MD, FCCP, Annenberg Professor of Pulmonary Medicine, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Director – Thoracic Disease Research Unit, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, MN.
  • Anoop M. Nambiar, MD, MS, FCCP, Professor of Medicine, Founding Director of the UT Health San Antonio Center for Interstitial Lung Diseases, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and South Texas Veterans Health Care System, San Antonio, TX.
  • Mary Beth Scholand, MD, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, Division of Pulmonary Diseases, Director, Interstitial Lung Program, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT

While interstitial lung diseases do not affect a substantial amount of the population, those touched by the disease are impacted tremendously. Any delay in receiving a diagnosis is time that could be dedicated to finding a treatment therapy that can improve their quality of life. I look forward to the work of this committee helping to shape how patients with ILDs are diagnosed and treated in the future."

Dr Andrew H. Limper, Steering Committee Member and Pulmonologist, American College of Chest Physicians

Starting with data-gathering surveys sent to both primary care physicians and pulmonologists, the committee will evaluate the findings to develop tools that can be used to aid in diagnosing complex lung diseases.

"Having experts from both pulmonary and primary care medicine as members of the steering committee is critical," says steering committee member and Family Medicine physician, Dr. William Lago. "Patients first see their family medicine or primary care clinicians and, all too often, the most complex lung diseases present in ways that are indistinguishable from more common conditions like asthma and COPD. Bringing together experts in both fields will yield the best results in creating a path to diagnosis."


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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