Sandra G. Adams, MD, MS, FCCP
March 27, 2017
In 2010, Sandra G. Adams, MD, MS, FCCP, received the CHEST Foundation Distinguished Scholar Award. Her award allowed her to provide education about COPD for health-care professionals. Read our interview with Dr. Adams as she discusses her accomplishments and goals toward championing lung health.
What is the training program you created that the foundation grant supported?
My CHEST Foundation project is based on a CHEST-sponsored live course involving interactive COPD training. We held twenty 1-day programs throughout 2009 and 2010. Each course involved five faculty members and reached 351 interprofessional learners across the United States.
Our learners included nurse practitioners, primary care physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, physician assistants, and others who cared for patients with COPD. For almost 7 hours of CME, learners studied diagnosis, spirometry, inhaler devices, how to recognize and treat COPD…everything from nonpharmacological to pharmacological.
How did winning the distinguished scholar award affect the program?
I was able to change that live 1-day course into an interactive, engaging online course with the funds from the award. Having an online course is very different from when we’re live. I had to make the modules short (between 6 and 19 minutes each). Every 2 to 3 minutes there is an interactive question, and then I appear in the video and the reasons for the correct and incorrect answers. For each question, learners are able to see how they did vs their peers and compared with all other learners who visited the site.
What’s really great about the online program is that we have all the inhaler demonstrations where clinicians can see the proper steps for every type of inhaler device. I also created virtual patient interaction modules. This virtual clinic involves learners choosing questions to ask a patient, studies, and management options. At the end you have the options of billing (if applicable, if you don’t bill, you just click a single button and all of the billing information disappears). Once you go through and make all of your selections, you receive personalized video and textual feedback describing the differences in your choices from optimal evaluation and management.
Although the grant was for 3 years, it actually took me 5 years to get the online course going and launched; but we’re still changing it and updating it. It’s really my passion.
We also offer no-cost, step-by-step instructions on YouTube with a nurse practitioner teaching a patient how to use each inhaled device. Although the grant was for 3 years, it actually took me 5 years to get the online course going and launched; but we’re still changing it and updating it. It’s really my passion.
What hurdles did you face and have to overcome?
After creating this online program, I found that marketing was suboptimal. Because of this and the advice I received, I created and founded the not-for-profit WipeDiseases™ Foundation with the goal of creating Web-based, interactive, professional education for various diseases. As patients expressed their needs for practical knowledge as well, I created patient-specific educational resources.
We now have education for COPD and asthma. I was able to work with former CHEST Foundation Community Service Grant recipient, Mary Hart, RRT, MS, to teach about recognizing and diagnosing COPD at a private practice clinic. Since implementing the training, the practice has seen an increase the prevalence of COPD.
With the CHEST Foundation grant, what have you been able to accomplish with your WipeDiseases Foundation?
The CHEST Foundation grant has made a huge impact. We initially provided information only on COPD, but now we have many other resources. From the patient and clinician perspective, the effects from the CHEST Foundation award provided the resources we have developed on asthma, COPD, tobacco, and others. Also, through donations to the WipeDiseases Foundation, I was able to begin creating a corresponding app with inhaled medications, prescribing information, disease content, and more.
What is the goal you are working toward with the help of this grant and future funding?
I would love to eventually go to other health-care systems around the country and the world to really change behavior and change practice. Ultimately we want to reduce exacerbations and hospitalizations for both asthma and COPD. It’s more than just changing a patient’s behavior and training clinicians on spirometry—it’s ultimately about changing patient outcomes.
Teaching patients “medicine as a second language” and teaching clinicians “plain English as a second language.”
My main goal for patients in the future is to empower them through the work of my foundation, not just by providing them with knowledge, but educating them on how to engage with their health-care professional. Teaching patients “medicine as a second language” and teaching clinicians “plain English as a second language.” Addressing both will help close gaps and promote better communication between patients and clinicians.
There is still time to apply for CHEST Foundation grants. The deadline for applications is March 31, 2017. How will you champion lung health? Learn more about foundation grants and how you can apply.
Sandra G. Adams, MD, MS, FCCP, is a pulmonologist and critical care physician in San Antonio, Texas. Dr. Adams is an internationally recognized leader in COPD, asthma, education, and the chronic care model. Dr. Adams received the Distinguished Scholar Award in Respiratory Health from the CHEST Foundation in 2010 and the University of Texas Patient Safety Grant in 2012, which have provided resources to develop Web-based Interactive Professional Education in Diseases (WipeDiseases™) such as COPD and asthma in order to educate primary care clinicians and other interprofessional health-care professionals.
Dr. Adams is the Founder and President of the not-for-profit WipeDiseases™ Foundation, whose mission is to continually develop high-quality education in order to facilitate actual changes in behavior, promote life-long learning, improve clinical outcomes, and enhance the lives of patients and their families. The WipeDiseases Foundation strives to bring balance to health-care professionals by providing the quality of distance learning in the comfort of the home, office, or even break rooms throughout the United States and globally at https://wipediseases.org.