According to research published in Chest, only 10.7% of patients with diagnosed COPD saw pulmonologists for care, nearly 15% less than had seen cardiologists in the same time period.

Researchers conducted a population-based cross-sectional study in Canada from April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015 to assess the number of ambulatory care visits and type of physician visited in a 1-year period.

Of the 895,155 COPD patients included in the study, 10.7% (95,782) consulted pulmonologists, compared to:

  • 6.3% (56,533) had no ambulatory care visits
  • 89.6% (802,327) saw primary care physicians
  • 82.3% (736,496) saw other specialists
  • 24.5% (218,997) saw cardiologists.

A subcohort analysis found that COPD patients who were hospitalized had greater rate of contact with pulmonologists yet it was still uncommon for patients to be treated by them. Of the 32,473 hospitalized patients, about 30% saw pulmonologists after one hospitalization and about 43% saw pulmonologists after two or more hospitalizations, according to study results.