GP Clinics


New Asthma Management Tool Greatly Improves Control

Using a new set of comprehensive asthma management tools helped to improve rates of asthma control; reduce asthma-related emergency department, urgent care, and hospital visits; and increase adherence to asthma guidelines, according to a recent study.
In order to assess outcomes following the institution the Asthma Activities, Persistent, triGGers, Asthma Medications, Response to therapy (APGAR) tools into primary care practice, researchers conducted a cluster-randomized controlled study involving 18 family medicine and pediatric practices and comparing 1066 patients with persistent asthma aged 5 to 45 years.
Outcomes included asthma control, quality of life, and emergency department, urgent care, and inpatient hospital visits.
Overall, 692 (65%) of the participants completed both the baseline and 12-month questionnaires, allowing analysis for patient-reported outcomes, and electronic health record data were available for 1063 participants.
The number of patients reporting asthma-related urgent care or hospital visit during the final 6 months of the study was 10.6% in the APGAR group vs 20.9% in the control group. The percentage of patients with “in control” asthma was 13.5% in the APGAR group vs 3.4% in the control group, and APGAR practices improved adherence to 3 or more guideline elements compared with controls (20.7% increase vs 1.9% decrease).
“In conclusion, introduction of the Asthma APGAR tools improved asthma control; reduced asthma-related ED, urgent care, and hospital visits; and improved practices’ asthma guideline adherence, suggesting that these tools are an effective practice addition for asthma management in the primary care setting. Future studies will need to assess the impact of introducing the Asthma APGAR tools into the primary care practices of large health care systems.”

Yawn BP, Wollan PC, Rank MA, et al. Use of asthma APGAR tools in primary care practices: a cluster-randomized controlled trial. Ann Fam Med. 2018;16(2)100-110.