To report the results of a 2-year pilot program of asthma education based on National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute treatment guidelines.
Asthmatic members (n = 6698) of a managed care organization received education about their condition directly or through their primary care physician. Medical and pharmacy administrative claims data were reviewed to measure acute asthma events and prescribed therapies in the first (the baseline) and second years of the study. The claims data were augmented by member surveys from a stratified random sample of 2734 asthmatic patients who were members (6 years of age or older) in the baseline year.
Compared with the first year, asthmatic members received fewer inpatient services and the proportion of asthmatic members prescribed oral inhaled corticosteroids increased 30% in the second year. Health-related quality of life, measured with validated general and disease-specific instruments; satisfaction with the quality of care; exposure to patient education; knowledge of the disease; and member's confidence in their ability to manage their disease showed statistically significant improvements during the follow-up year of the program for both adult and child asthmatic members.
For asthmatic members of this health plan, a comprehensive asthma health management program improved processes of care and outcomes.