Examining asthma quality of care using a population-based approach

Klomp, Helena; Lawson, Joshua A.; Cockcroft, Donald W.; Chan, Benjamin T.; Cascagnette, Paul; Gander, Laurie; Jorgenson, Derek
April 2008
CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal;4/8/2008, Vol. 178 Issue 8, p1013
Academic Journal
Background: Asthma accounts for considerable burden on health care, but in most cases, asthma can be controlled. Quality-of-care indicators would aid in monitoring asthma management. We describe the quality of asthma care using a set of proposed quality indicators. Methods: We performed a retrospective cross-sectional study using health databases in Saskatchewan, a Canadian province with a population of about 1 million people. We assessed 6 quality-of-care indicators among people with asthma: admission to hospital because of asthma; poor asthma control (high use of short-acting β-agonists, admission to hospital because of asthma or death due to asthma); no inhaled corticosteroid use among patients with poor control; at least moderate inhaled corticosteroid use among patients with poor control; high inhaled corticosteroid use and use of another preventer medication among patients with poor control; and any main preventer use among patients with poor control. We calculated crude and adjusted rates with 95% confidence intervals. We tested for differences using the χ² test for proportions and generalized linear modelling techniques. Results: In 2002/03, there were 24 616 people aged 5-54 years with asthma in Saskatchewan, representing a prevalence of 3.8%. Poor symptom control was observed in 18% of patients with asthma. Among those with poor control, 37% were not dispensed any inhaled corticosteroids, and 40% received potentially inadequate doses. Among those with poor control who were dispensed high doses of inhaled corticosteroids, 26% also used another preventer medication. Hospital admissions because of asthma were highest among those aged 6-9 years and females aged 20-44 years. Males and those in adult age groups (predominantly 20-44 years) had worse quality of care for 4 indicators examined. Interpretation: Suboptimal asthma management would be improved through increased use of inhaled corticosteroids and preventer medications, and reduced reliance on short-acting β-agonist medications as recommended by consensus guidelines.


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