The Journal of asthma : official journal of the Association for the Care of Asthma 2017 10 13() 1-6 doi 10.1080/02770903.2017.1363893
Under-diagnosis and suboptimal asthma control in children persists. An innovative care pathway was developed by a hospital department of pediatrics with the aim to detect pulmonary problems in children and provide appropriate treatment possibilities through systematic feedback towards the referring primary care physician. Primary care physicians can use this pathway to refer children with asthma-like symptoms for a one-day assessment. Goals are to measure the usage of the pathway by primary care general practitioners (GPs), the outcomes in terms of new diagnoses of asthma, the reduction in regular referrals, generated recommendations/therapy and the adequacy of asthma follow-up.
We collected all feedback letters sent to the GP concerning children who underwent the Pulmocheck in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Furthermore, all GPs, who had referred a child to the Pulmocheck in this period and that subsequently was diagnosed with asthma and was further managed in primary care, were sent a follow-up questionnaire in 2014.
There were 121 referrals from 51 GPs in 3 years to this pathway. In 59.5% of these referrals a new diagnosis of asthma was established. In 90.9% one or more changes in clinical management were advised. The response rate to the follow-up questionnaires was 65.7% of which 4.8% of the children with new established asthma were reviewed four times or more in the follow-up period, 17.4% two times, 65.2% once, and in 8.7% were not followed.
The specialty pediatric asthma care pathway revealed a high number of children with newly diagnosed asthma, but was also helpful to exclude this diagnosis. However, the referral rate of GPs to this pathway was low, but in the children, that were referred several changes in the clinical management were advised and the frequency of monitoring of the children with diagnosed asthma was not in accordance with the asthma guidelines.