Illustration of lungs as green and healthy parts of a tree.
Aiming to improve the quality of life for patients with COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the research group works to develop diagnostic and treatment.
Photo: Mostphotos

Research Group in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Research group
Active research
Project size
5 million SEK
Project period
2019 - 2029
Project owner
Lowie Vanfleteren

Short description

Our group in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) led by Dr Lowie Vanfleteren carries out research related to diagnoses and treatment of COPD patients in order to improve the patients’ quality of life. Our aim is also to digitalize and personalize the healthcare system and new methods to enhance patient-centred approach. There are many research and development projects going on in collaboration with academies and other local and international institutions.

About us

Plans for the COPD centre began in 2015 and today we are a recognized centre for person-centred care, with team-based care and a developed digital support for the care of our patients, which is unique. The research activity at the COPD centre is undergoing strong growth with support of new research grants.

Our goal is to become world leading within sharing knowledge, patient participation and collaboration with primary care and across specialities to benefit the patients' health and quality of life. To provide the best care for all the diagnoses that often are associated with COPD will play a crucial role in our endeavor. The National Board of Health and Welfare's guidelines for care are fully applied to our centre. You as patient are at the centre of care, will also contribute to the care design and implementation, including quality work and research.

We develop care of COPD with the idea of ​​providing the best possible coordinated care to increase the well-being and health of our patients. We aim to reach this goal through a multidisciplinary team-based care in collaboration between care and research where all patients are prepared to contribute with their knowledge of how care could be improved.

5 approaches in our care

  • Patient-centred care: The patient is involved in all stages and has full access directly through his/her mobile phone to all information, including planning ahead.
  • Integration: The patient's care plan should follow the patient's entire path through the healthcare system over all boundaries: care units, care levels and specialties.
  • Standards: All information management is based on standards in order to allow data integration between different systems.
  • Interoperability:The entire store of information is based on structured data to facilitate security, information sharing and analysis in research and quality work.
  • Research: All parts of the insertion are under continuous concept evaluation, such as real-time data, real world data and personalized medicine. The architecture of the digital platform is open and fully integrated with other systems used locally. Constant development and improvement are a core of our work.

Patient’s perspective

Good healthcare provides the patient with help beyond the support needed within the current diagnosis. Our information platform meets the needs without limitations for those with multiple diagnoses, multiple health contacts and in the case of chronic diseases. Therefore, integration of health support and care planning for the patient is needed while the care is supported for quality work and research.

Patient participation means that the patient continuously knows what is planned and has an opportunity to provide and receive information from the care givers. Our digitalized care support offers the patient a very strong position in the planning and implementation of care. The patient has easy access to the provided care plans in his/her mobile telephone and can directly adjust it.  

A patient with better knowledge of his or her illness, strengthened by the support by the care we give, understands what is needed, will feel better and have a better quality of life. Therefore, we educate our patients, support lifestyle changes and provide psychological and social support in addition to the medical treatment.

A woman is undergoing a lung function test by breathing through a nozzle.
A woman performs a lung function test, also called spirometry, by inhaling and exhaling trough a nozzle, supervised by care staff.
Photo: Bildbyrån

Multidisciplinary teams

The COPD centre offers a structured interprofessional care focusing at accurate and interprofessional management of the COPD. The management program is based on Swedish best practice recommendations for patients with COPD which entails correct diagnosis, correct treatment and exacerbation management. The comprehensive care empowers the individualized approach in for of care plans, use of patient-tailored devices and emphasizes patients’ education. All support is given by specialist as a multidisciplinary team, including pulmonologist, dietician, social counsellor, specialized nurse, physiotherapist and occupational therapist.

The specialists in our multidisciplinary teams


Ongoing research and development projects

The COPD centre is research oriented and research is a strong part of our routine. We constantly aim to improve the healthcare system, diagnostics, outcomes, and develop new methods to improve patients' quality of life. There are many research and development projects.

If you wish to participate as research person in our project, please contact Katarzyna Kulbacka-Ortiz. Phone: +46 761 14 30 72.

Digitalized healthcare

The patient's path through care is characterized by many meetings and efforts from different professions. Coordination and knowledge sharing are key-words for getting the highest quality of care and support to the patient, whether at home, primary care or in specialist care. The care plans we develop should accompany the patient’s journey within the healthcare system. Highly specialized care should reach all patients on the right indication. The work we do is well-received nationally and we have increasing funding for our research. The results are better when care and research go together. A digitalized working instrument supports our model.

Information serving different purposes

Our developed digitalized care support provides data directly to the patient's journal. The information can be used not only by healthcare providers and patients, but also for research purposes and outcomes measures for quality and development. We develop methods to make it easier to conduct clinical trials directly in the working routines. This modern approach enables all professions to participate in the research and share the multidisciplinary knowledge. The real-time data sharing system provides immediately usable and professional access to the data for every end user.

Information environment integrating new methods

The principle is based on the patient's path through the healthcare system where whatever can be planned based on e.g. care programs, bookings, the patient needs and desires can be described in a dynamic care plan that is shared between the patient and the care provider. At the same time, not everything can be foreseen, and the system must also be able to cope with the unexpected. To reduce the workload, most of the documentation is automatically based on clinical notes during the process work. All information is structured and based on standardized terms at a national and local level. This means that data that is automatically created fits into documentation, quality work and research and that the information environment can integrate new methods gradually. The platform's data is handled so that it is very easy to follow the laws surrounding individual’s data (e.g. GDPR).

Structured information flow

The patient's path through the healthcare system should be characterized by continuity, security, knowledge sharing, good planning and all measures must have scientific evidence. The best care based on individual needs should reach all patients. Most of all, improved continuity of healthcare in chronic diseases is needed. A well-thought-out information environment where everything is shared with the patient and where the information follows the patient's journey through the care is the basis. It provides better sharing of the knowledge between everyone who works in the healthcare sector. Since all information is structured, it can be used directly for both quality work, development and research.

Highlighted publications

Research news (in Swedish)

Our research group

  • Lowie Vanfleteren
    Associate Professor
  • Katarzyna Kulbacka-Ortiz,
    project leader
  • Malte Frerichs, PhD student
  • Kristina Andelid, Postdoc
  • Anita Nordenson
  • Anders Andersson, Postdoc
  • Annie Lindahl
  • Ann-Louise Elm Kullingsjö
  • Anna Lundborg
  • Susanne Wallentin
  • Monika Crona