Improvements in Asthma Pharmacotherapy and Self-Management: An Example of a Population-Based Disease Management Program
Richard A. Feifer
Robert R. Verbrugge
Gwendolyn B. OKeefe
Ronald E. Aubert
Background and objective: In day-to-day practice, asthma treatment and self-management often fall short of the objectives defined by clinical practice guidelines. The objective of this study was to determine whether a population-based asthma disease management program, using broad-based educational interventions, can have a favorable impact on physician and patient adherence to guidelines-based care. Methods: A longitudinal, before-and-after design was used to evaluate program impacts on pharmacotherapy and health status. Patients with asthma (n = 35 Main outcome measures and results: The percentage of patients who started controller therapy during the study period was significantly higher for the intervention group than the control group (20.7% versus 18.1%, p < 0.001). The controller prescription fill rate increased significantly in the intervention group compared with controls (p < 0.0001); the increase was primarily driven by increased refill rates for patients already using controllers. Reliever prescription fill rates decreased for both the intervention group and controls. Program participants reported significant improvements in asthma-related QOL (p < 0.05) and self-management skills. Self-reported medical utilization decreased for office visits (p < 0.05) and emergency room visits (p < 0.01). Conclusions: A population-based asthma disease management program can improve controller prescribing rates (new therapy starts), controller adherence rates (refill persistency), and self-management skills. These changes in physician and patient behavior help close the gaps between guidelines and practice in asthma therapy.
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