Improving Asthma Care Quality

My Quality Improvement (MyQI)

After reviewing your MONAHRQ-generated information for asthma, you may be ready to take steps to improve the quality of care in your area. The MyQI Improving Asthma Care Quality portal provides a framework, action steps, and resources for planning and implementing initiatives to improve the quality of care in the community, thereby reducing hospitalizations for asthma patients.

The goals of improving asthma care are to close gaps between current and best medical practice, improve access to care, and eliminate disparities.

Resources and links in this portal answer these questions: 

Why is Quality Asthma Care Important?

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:

learn more iconThe prevalence has been increasing.

learn more iconThere are racial and ethnic disparities ( PDF file PDF version - 558.78 KB ) in asthma diagnosis and treatment.

learn more iconAsthma can be effectively treated and controlled.

learn more iconUncontrolled asthma is costly.

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What is Asthma?

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.

Video IconThe National Heart Lung and Blood Institute describes how asthma is diagnosed and treated, provides a short video on how to manage symptoms, and more.

learn more iconImages of normal and asthmatic lungs, the respiratory system, and common asthma triggers are available from MedlinePlus.

Audio IconA podcast about asthma is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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How Common is Asthma?

About 23 million people have asthma, including nearly 7 million children. Follow these links for more asthma statistics:

learn more iconData on asthma morbidity, health care use, and mortality from the CDC

learn more iconAsthma population estimates in-depth national, state and local asthma data, data on childhood asthma, national surveys, and more from the CDC

learn more iconInformation on disparities in asthma costs and treatment from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation

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How Can I Plan for Asthma Quality Improvement?

Asthma care quality improvement can occur at the macro and micro levels in any community.

Following the steps below can help you plan for quality improvement. They are based on elements of the Chronic Care Model and methodology from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI).

Steps Toward Improving Health Care Quality

Step 1. Create a vision and provide leadership for quality improvement

Collect information

Toolkit IconAHRQ’s State Snapshots provide state-specific information to explore the quality of your state’s asthma care.

learn more iconFind data on asthma prevalence and trendsBehavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS).

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Make the business case

learn more iconA report from the Asthma Regional Council of New England reviews the cost-effectiveness of asthma interventions.

Toolkit IconAHRQ’s Asthma Return on Investment Calculator shows financial returns that can be realized after implementing asthma quality improvement initiatives.

Toolkit IconResources 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.

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Identify champions and stakeholders

Toolkit IconLearn how coalitions can be important allies in asthma quality improvement from this module in AHRQ’s Asthma Care Resource Guide.

learn more iconMeasures for successful coalitions are identified in this report by the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation).

learn more iconKey partnerships can positively affect asthma care. Read about examples in this article in the Journal of School Health.

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Step 2. Work in partnership with champions/stakeholders

Present the process

learn more iconThe American Lung Association worked with partners to develop the National Asthma Policy Agenda to reduce asthma-related complications. Read the recommended strategies here.

Toolkit IconAHRQ’s health care quality improvement tools and resources can guide states in asthma quality improvement.

learn more iconImprovement Stories submitted to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement describe how organizations tested and implemented quality improvement programs.

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Design the intervention

Toolkit IconDownload a toolkit from the Center for Healthcare Strategies for a structured approach to improving asthma care.

learn more iconState agencies can develop and implement asthma programs using this guide from the CDC.

learn more iconState planners will find AHRQ’s research–based framework useful for designing asthma quality improvement programs.

Toolkit IconExplore potential financial returns from state asthma quality improvement programs by using the AHRQ’s Asthma Return on Investment Calculator.

Toolkit IconAn asthma action plan from the American Lung Association can help patients and their providers prevent asthma from getting worse.

learn more iconGuidelines for Diagnosis and Management of Asthma are available from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.

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Step 3. Implement improvement through the partnership 

Apply the intervention

Toolkit IconThe evidence-based Asthma Change Package guides improvements in community asthma care.

learn more iconThis article in the Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy discusses community-based strategies for improving asthma outcomes.

learn more iconAHRQ has reviewed evidence that quality improvement strategies can improve outpatient care in the Closing the Quality Gap: Asthma Care report.

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Assess the impact

Toolkit IconCommunity coalitions developed asthma quality improvement toolkits, evaluation instruments, and other resources through the Allies Against Asthma initiative, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Toolkit IconThe CDC’s Learning and Growing through Evaluation Workbook can help state health officials evaluate asthma programs in their region.

learn more iconThis Framework for Program Evaluation in Public Health from the CDC can be applied to asthma care quality initiatives.

Spread successful change

learn more iconLearn about the characteristics of successful child asthma care projects from this CDC summary.

Toolkit IconImproving Chronic Illness and Care, sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, shares strategies for coalitions to improve regional health care quality.

learn more iconDevelop skills to spread organizational change using frameworks from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

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Other Useful Asthma Resources

State and public health planners

States can help create a vision for positive change, work with stakeholders, create quality interventions, and assess their impact.

Toolkit IconA list of national and state asthma programs is available from AHRQ.

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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.

learn more iconHospital-based asthma educators can support their community in providing quality asthma care. Read about an innovation developed by MaineHealth.

Toolkit IconExplore coalition networking opportunities using the American Health Quality Association’s list of quality associations and projects.

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Asthma quality improvement research

learn more iconThis article from the journal Pediatrics identifies policies and features of high-quality practice sites that provide asthma care for Medicaid-insured children.

learn more iconCharacteristics of adult hospital stays related to asthma in 2005 are described in this HCUP Statistical Brief.

learn more iconChild hospital stays related to asthma in 2006 are described in this HCUP Statistical Brief.

learn more iconThis reprint available from RAND evaluates an asthma quality improvement collaborative.

learn more iconThe costs and benefits of quality asthma care are discussed in this report by RAND.

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Useful Asthma Resources

Toolkit IconThe American Lung Association provides a patient action plan for asthma management.

learn more iconAHRQ's Closing the Quality Gap: Asthma Care systematically reviews evidence for achieving better outpatient care through quality improvement strategies.

Slide Show IconA slide presentation about asthma epidemiology, risk factors, and management can be downloaded from the CDC.

Toolkit IconThe American Lung Association's State of the Air Report Card rates the level of community air pollution, which can affect those with asthma.

Toolkit IconThe U.S. government's AIRNow resource provides daily air quality forecasts for states and selected communities.

Toolkit IconThe AHRQ Asthma ROI Calculator shows you potential financial returns from your asthma disease management program.

learn more iconGuidelines for Asthma Diagnosis and Management from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute outline updated methods for monitoring asthma.

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Page last reviewed September 2017
Page originally created March 2013
Internet Citation: Improving Asthma Care Quality. Content last reviewed September 2017. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/systems/monahrq/myqi/asthma.html