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Evaluating Asthma Care: A Win-Win for Patients and Providers

2011 June 3

By Steve Conti

In our asthma management work at the Seton Asthma Center, in Austin, Texas, we strive for three goals every day: to keep children from having to enter our hospital doors; to reduce the number of children readmitted to our facilities; and to keep children out of the emergency room (ER). These are the reasons that I work in asthma care and prevention, and why I am proud to tell our program’s story.

We started off almost 10 years ago with alarming numbers of ER visits and readmission rates for pediatric asthma patients in our community; so we began to question our methods: Where were our gaps? What could we enhance? And more importantly, how could we better serve our community? In short, we wanted to understand how to better provide comprehensive asthma management to the children we treated to improve their quality of life.

We took this opportunity to evaluate our programmatic goals and activities to determine how we could achieve the results that would align with our goals of improving asthma health outcomes. After implementing new strategies, including how we conducted asthma education outreach to families, we started to see fewer children returning to the ER. However, in order to determine if we achieved success, we really needed to measure our results. To do so, we tracked patients’ doctor and ER visits for one year, as well as had patients’ complete quality of life assessments. Coupling this information with their previous year’s medical history allowed us to do a comparative evaluation of each child’s condition.

The results were amazing. We saw an almost 50 percent decline in ER visits, a 90 percent decrease in patient visits and a positive return on investment – for every dollar we spent on program expenses, we were able to demonstrate a $5 return.

It is because of our evaluation efforts that I am able to articulate Seton’s story and describe the positive impact our program has had on managing asthma in our community. I would highly encourage any asthma management program that is interested in learning more about evaluation and how to articulate their program’s story to attend the upcoming EPA’s Communities in Action National Asthma Forum, June 9-10, 2011, in Washington, D.C. It’s an inspiring event that helps programs promote healthier, happier lives for their patients, and provides an opportunity to meet national experts in asthma care.

About the author: Steve Conti has been with the Seton Family of Hospitals for 15 years and currently serves as the Director of Disease Management. Seton Asthma Center is the recipient of the 2009 EPA National Environmental Leadership Award in Asthma Management.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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7 Responses leave one →
  1. Richard Nelson permalink
    June 4, 2011

    I am a former Navy Corpsman and I am still in the medical field as a CT technologist. Whether at Navy Hospitals or Civilians hospitals that I have worked since I got out of the military, there was an alarming number of children coming to the ER or being evaluated because of asthma.

    If this research holds true as far as reducing the number of pediatric patients being seen because of asthma, this should have a positive effect (one would think) on the rising healthcare premiums that we all face. I hope this positive trend continues and our wallets can get just as much relief as our pedi patients.

  2. Pete permalink
    June 5, 2011

    I had asthma since I was born. When I was a kid I often got shortness of breath. And then I start to swim–(that’s an advice from a doctor n health professionals) And after a couple of years my asthma has gone.
    And when I was young (It’s about when I was in highschool) I learn the art of breathing. That made my body stronger.
    But I think asthma can’t really cure until 100%. It depens on how the way we live, our lifestyle. And now when I write here I’m 30 years old (not swimming anymore or practicing the art of breathing), smoking and sometime I don’t have much sleep–that’s making my old asthma relapses(sometime).
    Btw, nice to share here


  3. Asthma permalink
    June 5, 2011

    Asthma, Asthma exploded between 1970-1980 and doctors were
    dumb founded as to why?

    Here It Is In a nut shell. (DEHYDRATION)
    In 1970 Heavy amounts of Chlorine was dumped into 80% of our
    drinking water supply because of high bacteria counts.

    What happened? Action -reaction. We stopped drinking tap water
    and our health has declined like a free falling safe.

    Some doctor claim humans do not need to drink any water because
    you get all the water you need from the food you eat!

    This kind of thinking came from a high ranking doctor at Yale. Scary
    people out their and I do not trust many doctors because they only
    know what they know.

    I am a water consultant and will take on your brightest minds you
    can come at me with. I have studied this Asthma dilemma for years
    and can teach you people a thing or two about this health issue.

    Thing Is, You will not follow up on any of what Is written here because you do not want to hear from anyone other than your
    circle of advisors. How sad! Closed mind will never solve anything.
    I hope you contact me for the sake of these victims!
    Mr. Dale Abbott Consultant a- Water solutions

  4. Custom Logo Design permalink
    June 6, 2011

    This is very informative about asthma. i got so many info from your article. thanks for sharing with us.

  5. Leopard permalink
    June 6, 2011

    What? You don’t expect to be taken seriously do you?

  6. Henry Speed permalink
    June 16, 2011

    Great post,thanks for showing your articles and work.

  7. Fern permalink
    October 28, 2011

    Thank you for the information you have shared in this article. I have a 2 year grandaughter who was born 13 weeks premature and had some problems with her breathing and we thought she was developing asthma. However, because she is such an active little girl she appears to be growing out of it

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