Healthcare Insider Blog

New primary care-based program can help DNPs improve asthma detection

  • Healthcare Alvernia

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 17.7 million adults currently have asthma, and 6.3 million children suffer from it as well. Asthma is the reason for 10.5 million visits to doctors of nursing practice and other healthcare professionals, plus 1.8 million visits to the emergency department.

A recent study published in the Journal of Asthma shows how a new primary care-based program, which focuses on specific guidelines, improved asthma detection by 60 percent in comparison with routine care procedures.

“Our study highlights that asthma severity is under-recognized and undertreated during routine care, and access to a dedicated asthma program can improve both assessment and treatment, which could ultimately improve quality of life and decrease hospitalizations and cost,” said Karen Warman, MD, associate professor of clinical pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in a news release.

The new program features a recommended “step of care” with different combinations of medicines for each level of asthma severity.

The study surveyed 97 children consecutively referred to the program between 2011 and 2013, comparing asthma severity documented during routine visits with asthma severity assessed through the new program.

Findings showed that more children were diagnosed with moderate to severe asthma based on the new program, consisting of clinical questions, spirometry, and combined criteria in comparison to routine care.

Additionally, as a result of the new program, more children were prescribed controller medications after visits, and 40 percent of patients had their medications increased.

Researchers suggest that providing asthma-focused visits in addition to routine visits, as well as using guideline recommendations for spirometry testing, could be the key to improving asthma management.

“We recognize many demands are placed on primary care physicians during routine health care maintenance visits,” said Warman. “For this reason, we recommend arranging separate asthma-focused visits, which allow more time to speak with families, assess for environmental exposures, discuss medications, and demonstrate correct use of spacer devices.”

Through rigorous coursework focused on early-detection, prevention, treatment and so much more, Alvernia DNP students will be prepared to go out into the field and give their patients the best possible care, using the latest and most accurate studies, programs and procedures in primary care.

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