Tools for Better Asthma Care in Health Maintenance Organizations

Improving quality of care among asthmatics in managed care

During 1997 and 1998, researchers from Innovative Medical Research—a Towson, Md. company that conducts research clinical trials for a variety of clients—developed and tested three research tools that provide the foundation for a planned asthma intervention appropriate for use in managed care organizations.

The research team also used two of the tools to collect preliminary data.

Key Results/Findings

  • The project team developed three research tools that provide the foundation for a planned asthma intervention appropriate for use in managed care organizations:

    • A brief, two-minute interview that can be conducted by telephone to assess problems related to asthma over the previous two weeks.
    • A patient interview to assess knowledge of self-management skills and attitudes toward effective asthma control.
    • A physician interview to assess clinical knowledge of asthma treatment guidelines.
  • Preliminary fielding of the interviews among patients and primary care doctors in a health maintenance organization (HMO) showed that:

    • Asthma patients scored poorly on knowledge of measures to control environmental exposure, long-term control medications, and asthma self-management strategies.
    • Physicians scored poorly on the assessment of the severity of asthma, knowledge of the indications for use of a common medicine for the treatment of asthma, and developing written plans with patients for asthma self-management.