Physician Education Improves Poor Kids’ Asthma
Physician participation in an interactive asthma seminar leads to enhanced asthma care and improved outcomes for children with asthma from low-income families, a group at high-risk for poor asthma-related outcomes, according to a study in the journal Chest.
Physician participation in an interactive asthma seminar leads to enhanced asthma care and improved outcomes for children with asthma from low-income families, a group at high-risk for poor asthma-related outcomes, according to a study in the journal Chest.The program, which consists of two seminars each lasting 2 to 3 hours held over a period of 2 to 3 weeks, focuses not only on enhancing physician’s therapeutic skills in treating childhood asthma but also on developing the skills to educate and counsel families about how they can better manage the disease.Previously, Dr. Randall Brown from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and colleagues reported that this program was associated with improved patient/parent satisfaction, increased prescription for anti-inflammatory therapy, increased used of written asthma action plans, and decreased hospital visits in children with high levels of use.The current study, which focuses specifically on asthmatic children from low-income families, shows that these children benefited equally from the program.Analyzes were based on 36 children, from families with an annual income under $20,000, who were treated by 23 primary care pediatricians. Twelve of the physicians completed the asthma seminar (the intervention group) and 11 did not (the control group).Children from poor families in the intervention group tended to have higher levels of medication use, to receive written asthma action plans, and to miss fewer days of school. However, the differences in these measures were not statistically significant compared with those for poor children from the control group.However, children in low-income intervention group were significantly less likely to be admitted to the emergency department or the hospital compared with low-income control group children.This study shows that the impact of this physician asthma education program “is not reserved merely for those patients with more resources,” the authors say.”We believe,” they write, “that providers who care for high-risk asthma populations could benefit from this educational program and can provide better care at lower costs to children with asthma.”(Source: Reuters, Chest, August 2004.)