Improving Asthma Care Quality
My Quality Improvement (MyQI)
The goals of improving asthma care are to close gaps between current and best medical practice, improve access to care, and eliminate disparities.
- Why is Quality Asthma Care Important?
- What is Asthma?
- How Common is Asthma?
- How Can I Plan for Asthma Quality Improvement?
- Other Useful Asthma Resources
- Useful Asthma Resources
The quality of asthma care can vary widely across communities and population groups. Gaps in care can lead to complications or death and can increase costs.
Information from government agencies illustrates why asthma has been a target for quality improvement efforts:
The prevalence has been increasing.
Asthma can be effectively treated and controlled.
Uncontrolled asthma is costly.
Asthma is a chronic lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways, making breathing difficult. Asthma cannot be cured, but its symptoms can be controlled. With good asthma management, people can maintain normal activity levels. Learn more by following these links.
Images of normal and asthmatic lungs, the respiratory system, and common asthma triggers are available from MedlinePlus.
A podcast about asthma is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
About 23 million people have asthma, including nearly 7 million children. Follow these links for more asthma statistics:
Data on asthma morbidity, health care use, and mortality from the CDC
Information on disparities in asthma costs and treatment from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation
Asthma care quality improvement can occur at the macro and micro levels in any community.
Steps Toward Improving Health Care Quality
Step 1. Create a vision and provide leadership for quality improvement
AHRQ’s State Snapshots provide state-specific information to explore the quality of your state’s asthma care.
A report from the Asthma Regional Council of New England reviews the cost-effectiveness of asthma interventions.
AHRQ’s Asthma Return on Investment Calculator shows financial returns that can be realized after implementing asthma quality improvement initiatives.
Resources compiled by the Center for Healthcare Strategies can help you demonstrate the business case for healthcare quality improvement. The results can be applied to asthma care.
- Enter "return on investment" in the search box.
Learn how coalitions can be important allies in asthma quality improvement from this module in AHRQ’s Asthma Care Resource Guide.
Measures for successful coalitions are identified in this report by the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation).
Key partnerships can positively affect asthma care. Read about examples in this article in the Journal of School Health.
Step 2. Work in partnership with champions/stakeholders
The American Lung Association worked with partners to develop the National Asthma Policy Agenda to reduce asthma-related complications. Read the recommended strategies here.
AHRQ’s health care quality improvement tools and resources can guide states in asthma quality improvement.
Improvement Stories submitted to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement describe how organizations tested and implemented quality improvement programs.
Download a toolkit from the Center for Healthcare Strategies for a structured approach to improving asthma care.
State agencies can develop and implement asthma programs using this guide from the CDC.
State planners will find AHRQ’s research–based framework useful for designing asthma quality improvement programs.
Explore potential financial returns from state asthma quality improvement programs by using the AHRQ’s Asthma Return on Investment Calculator.
An asthma action plan from the American Lung Association can help patients and their providers prevent asthma from getting worse.
Guidelines for Diagnosis and Management of Asthma are available from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.
Apply the intervention
The evidence-based Asthma Change Package guides improvements in community asthma care.
This article in the Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy discusses community-based strategies for improving asthma outcomes.
AHRQ has reviewed evidence that quality improvement strategies can improve outpatient care in the Closing the Quality Gap: Asthma Care report.
Community coalitions developed asthma quality improvement toolkits, evaluation instruments, and other resources through the Allies Against Asthma initiative, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The CDC’s Learning and Growing through Evaluation Workbook can help state health officials evaluate asthma programs in their region.
This Framework for Program Evaluation in Public Health from the CDC can be applied to asthma care quality initiatives.
Learn about the characteristics of successful child asthma care projects from this CDC summary.
Improving Chronic Illness and Care, sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, shares strategies for coalitions to improve regional health care quality.
Develop skills to spread organizational change using frameworks from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.
State and public health planners
States can help create a vision for positive change, work with stakeholders, create quality interventions, and assess their impact.
A list of national and state asthma programs is available from AHRQ.
Communities and coalitions
Quality improvement leaders cannot accomplish their task alone. Coalitions and advisory groups provide networks of support to successful asthma quality improvement programs.
Hospital-based asthma educators can support their community in providing quality asthma care. Read about an innovation developed by MaineHealth.
Explore coalition networking opportunities using the American Health Quality Association’s list of quality associations and projects.
Asthma quality improvement research
This article from the journal Pediatrics identifies policies and features of high-quality practice sites that provide asthma care for Medicaid-insured children.
Characteristics of adult hospital stays related to asthma in 2005 are described in this HCUP Statistical Brief.
Child hospital stays related to asthma in 2006 are described in this HCUP Statistical Brief.
This reprint available from RAND evaluates an asthma quality improvement collaborative.
The costs and benefits of quality asthma care are discussed in this report by RAND.
The American Lung Association provides a patient action plan for asthma management.
AHRQ's Closing the Quality Gap: Asthma Care systematically reviews evidence for achieving better outpatient care through quality improvement strategies.
A slide presentation about asthma epidemiology, risk factors, and management can be downloaded from the CDC.
The American Lung Association's State of the Air Report Card rates the level of community air pollution, which can affect those with asthma.
The U.S. government's AIRNow resource provides daily air quality forecasts for states and selected communities.
The AHRQ Asthma ROI Calculator shows you potential financial returns from your asthma disease management program.
Guidelines for Asthma Diagnosis and Management from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute outline updated methods for monitoring asthma.