An information technology manager and a data manager were available in the data center. The IVRS system allowed a day-by-day updating of the enrollment process; at regular intervals, IVRS telephone calls were matched with data forms actually received. The data received were recorded in a computer database and checked for completeness and clinical compatibility. In the case of missing or unreliable data, a request was sent to the researcher (GP or specialist) to verify data.
Descriptive statistical analysis included mean and SD or median and range for continuous data; and absolute and relative frequency for categorical data. The homogeneity in the distribution of the frequency of new diagnosis in the two procedures under comparison was evaluated with the x2 test; the odds ratio (OR) between the respective frequencies of the two procedures was calculated with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). To determine the predictive power of historical and objective data in the medical records on the diagnosis of asthma or COPD, ORs and 95% CIs were calculated according to a logistic regression model adjusting for all variables in the model and applied on the global population of patients and on those patients with concordant diagnosis between GPs and specialists. website
The vast majority of GPs attended the educational meetings (95% attended both sessions, and 99% attended at least one). No GP coworkers attended, since most Italian GPs work individually without staff support. Approximately 13% of GPs had postgraduate training in respiratory medicine, but none had ever used a spirometer regularly in their activity as GP.
Eighty-eight percent of GPs had from 1,000 to 1,500 patients registered at their practice; the remaining 12% had < 1,000 patients. Each GP estimated that on average approximately 40 to 50 patients with COPD were registered in their practice, According to a conservative estimate, Italian GPs with 1,000 to 1,500 patients receive on average 25 to 30 patients per day, 5 days a week, in their office.