Asthma is the most common serious chronic disorder of childhood, impacting an estimated 7 million U.S. children, and research shows that pediatric asthma care rendered by primary care physicians may be inadequate.
The study, "Improving Asthma Care by Building Statewide Quality Improvement Infrastructure" published in the August 2017 issue of Pediatrics (published online on July 21), shows that a multi-state Quality Improvement program dramatically improved asthma care, including the number of patients described as having "well controlled" asthma from 59% to 74%.
Researchers examined an American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Chapter Quality Network program, involving 749 pediatricians and 45,431 patient encounters in 180 practices across nine states. AAP experts in asthma care, quality improvement, and primary care practice systems developed practice interventions and an implementation guide with practice tools, as well as a set of measures for practices in the learning network. As a result, optimal asthma care improved from 42% to 81% across the length of the program, a 93% improvement.
Researchers concluded that this project may serve as a model for other statewide and national organizations attempting to achieve improvements in population health, including other high-priority medical conditions such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, but that more research and randomized trials are needed to better understand the short- and long-term outcomes of the model.