Primary Care Pathway for Childhood Asthma

Overview

At least half of children with asthma have poor disease control, which can result in complications requiring emergency treatment and hospitalization. As asthma is one of the most common reasons for children to visit emergency departments (ED) and be hospitalized, this disease places a heavy burden on the health care system and families. While there is strong evidence that timely treatment with preventative therapies can substantially improve asthma control, reduce sudden worsening of symptoms, and lower rates of ED visits and hospitalizations, a significant proportion of children do not receive these therapies. The purpose of this study is to improve the prescription and use of evidenced-based preventative therapies for children with asthma with the goal to significantly improve their disease control and quality of life, while reducing unnecessary ED visits and hospitalizations. The investigators will achieve this by: i) installing a primary care clinical pathway for managing childhood asthma into clinicians' electronic medical record (EMR) to facilitate the use of best-evidence by practitioners, and ii) training chronic disease management (CDM) health professionals to provide targeted and timely asthma education to parents and children with asthma. The investigators will test this pathway and education project in a representative sample of 22 Alberta primary care practices, using a pragmatic cluster controlled trial methodology.

Study Type

  • Study Type: Interventional
  • Study Design
    • Allocation: Randomized
    • Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
    • Primary Purpose: Health Services Research
    • Masking: None (Open Label)
  • Study Primary Completion Date: June 2018

Interventions

  • Other: Primary care clinical pathway
    • Installing a primary care clinical pathway for managing childhood asthma into clinicians’ electronic medical record (EMR) to facilitate the use of best-evidence by practitioners.
  • Other: Asthma education
    • Physicians will receive web-based education through an interactive learning module regarding best management for childhood asthma and use of the primary care clinical pathway. Chronic disease management (CDM) health professionals in practices will attend asthma education sessions delivered by an asthma educator. This training will be then used by the CDM professional to provide targeted and timely asthma education to parents and children with asthma.
  • Other: EMR embedded dashboard
    • An EMR embedded dashboard will deliver real-time feedback to clinicians.

Arms, Groups and Cohorts

  • Experimental: Intervention group
    • Embedding a primary care clinical pathway for managing childhood asthma into clinicians’ electronic medical record (EMR) to facilitate practitioners utilizing best-evidence; training these practices’ chronic disease management (CDM) professionals to provide asthma education to children with asthma and their parents; and clinicians receiving an EMR embedded dashboard.
  • No Intervention: Control group
    • Practice will continue with routine care. Control group will be offered the intervention at study completion, if successful.

Clinical Trial Outcome Measures

Primary Measures

  • Prescription of evidenced-based preventative therapies
    • Time Frame: 12 months after receiving intervention
    • The proportion of symptomatic children with asthma in the baseline and follow-up periods (separate calculations) who are appropriately treated with a preventer will be the primary outcome. The denominator will be the number of children who meet the case definition of asthma and receive at least one prescription for an inhaled short-acting beta-agonist (e.g. salbutamol) during the applicable time period. The numerator will be, of these children, the number who receive a prescription for inhaled corticosteroid, montelukast, a combined inhaled long-acting beta agonist and corticosteroid, or some combination of these three drugs in the same time period.

Secondary Measures

  • Dispensed preventative therapies
    • Time Frame: 12 months after receiving intervention
    • The proportion of applicable children in baseline and follow-up periods who are appropriately dispensed a preventer by a pharmacy will highlight if there is a significant gap between prescriptions given and filled. The denominator will be the same as for the primary outcome but the numerator will be the number of these children who are dispensed one or more preventer medications from newly available Pharmaceutical Information Network (PIN) data.
  • Emergency department visits and hospitalizations for asthma
    • Time Frame: 12 months after receiving intervention
    • The number of asthma emergency department visits or hospitalizations (ICD10 J45 or J46) per child who meets the case definition of asthma during each time period, a measure of health care use.
  • Electronic Medical Record (EMR) data
    • Time Frame: 12 months after receiving intervention
    • The research team has worked with TELUS to develop and validate a case definition and case finding algorithm for identifying children with asthma in practices. The TELUS EMR data will provide, for all eligible children, individual categorical and continuous patient level data such as patient demographics, ICD9 codes and medication prescriptions, and for children evaluated in practices randomized to the pathway group, asthma phenotype and provision of asthma action plans.

Participating in This Clinical Trial

Inclusion Criteria

  • Validated diagnosis of asthma according to CPCSSN validated definition Exclusion Criteria:

  • Children under 1 and over 17 years of age – Children of parents who have opted out of CPCSSN data collection – Children with validated asthma who have not attended practices in the last 2 years, or have not received bronchodilator therapy in the last 12 months

Gender Eligibility: All

Minimum Age: 1 Year

Maximum Age: 17 Years

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted: No

Investigator Details

  • Lead Sponsor
    • University of Alberta
  • Collaborator
    • Alberta Innovates Health Solutions
  • Provider of Information About this Clinical Study
    • Sponsor
  • Overall Official(s)
    • Andrew Cave, FCFP, FRCGP, Principal Investigator, Department of Family Medicine, University of Alberta

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