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 and 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.

Funding

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) supported this project through a grant of $199,913.

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