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Protocol for the asthma tools study: a pragmatic practice-based research network trial

Authors Yawn BP, Bertram S, Kurland M, Wollan P, Graham D, Littlefield D, Smail C, Pace W

Received 23 January 2013

Accepted for publication 21 March 2013

Published 4 June 2013 Volume 2013:4 Pages 7—18


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Barbara P Yawn,1 Susan Bertram,1 Margary Kurland,1 Peter Wollan,1 Deborah Graham,2 Dawn Littlefield,1 Craig Smail,2 Wilson Pace2

1Department of Research, Olmsted Medical Center, Rochester, MN, 2National Research Network, American Academy of Family Physicians, Leawood, KS, USA

Background: Asthma is common among children, adolescents, and adults. However, management of asthma often fails to follow evidence-based guidelines. Control assessments have been developed, validated against expert opinion, and disseminated. However, in primary care, assessment of control is only one step in asthma management. To facilitate integration of the evidence-based guidelines into practice, tools should also guide the next steps in care. The Asthma APGAR tools do just that, incorporating a control assessment as well as assessment of the most common reasons for inadequate and poor control. The Asthma APGAR tool is also linked to a care algorithm based on the 2007 National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute asthma guidelines. The objective of this study is to assess the impact of implementation of the Asthma APGAR on patient asthma outcomes in primary care practices.
Methods: A total of 1400 patients aged 5–60 years with physician-diagnosed asthma are enrolled in 20 practice-based research network (PBRN) practices randomized to intervention or usual care. The primary outcomes are changes in patient self-reported asthma control, asthma-related quality of life, and rates of exacerbations documented in medical records over the 18–24 months of enrollment. Process measures related to implementation of the Asthma APGAR system into daily care will also be assessed using review of medical records. Qualitative assessments will be used to explore barriers to and facilitators for integrating the Asthma APGAR tools into daily practice in primary care.
Discussion: Data from this pivotal pragmatic study are intended to demonstrate the importance of linking assessment of asthma and management tools to improve asthma-related patient outcomes. The study is an effectiveness trial done in real-world PBRN practices using patient-oriented outcome measures, making it generalizable to the largest possible group of asthma care providers and primary care clinics.

Keywords: asthma, asthma control, asthma management, primary care, pragmatic research, practice-based research, protocol

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