Asthma guided self-management enhances patients’ control of their condition under the guidance of the treating physician. The aim of the present study was to understand how physicians perceive, endorse, uptake, and support asthma guided self-management.
We conducted a secondary supplementary analysis of data originally collected as part of a multicenter collective case study in which physicians treating patients with asthma were interviewed. Using reflective thematic analysis, we aimed to explore physicians’ understanding of guided asthma self-management as related to four ideas, namely: (a) understanding of the disease management and treatment goals; (b) defining medical frame and guidance; (c) describing the importance of patient-physician relationship; and (d) implementing asthma guided self-management.
Evidence indicates that physicians perceived optimal guided self-management as related to patients’ adherence to physician’s instructions and recommendations, supported by the adjustment of prescribed pharmaceutical therapy contingent upon patient’s symptoms. Some physicians also perceived behavior change and environmental control along with the medical recommendations. While physicians’ perception of asthma and its treatment were aligned with the recommended guidelines-i.e., patient-centered care approach based on guided self-management, the actual guidance offered to patients remained primarily directive and paternalistic. Non-pharmacological approaches, such as exercise, smoking cessation, patient self-monitoring, and self-management supported by education and written self-management plans, were given little consideration in the context of the recommended treatment plan.