Operation inspiration: patients, puffers and plans for action - effect of web-based asthma management on asthma patient care and satisfaction
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Asthma is a common health problem in Canada and around the world. When asthma is not well controlled, it leads to increased use of SABAs (e.g. salbutamol), an increased number of physician and emergency room visits and a reduced quality of life. Guidelines for asthma management include patient monitoring and the use of a paper asthma action plan. Making asthma action plans available online may improve asthma care. In June and July of 2011, adults diagnosed with asthma aged 18 to 55 were enrolled and randomized to one of two study groups. During the period of August 2011 to June 2012, 41 patients were given normal care including a paper asthma action plan, and 39 patients also had access to their action plans online as well as receiving monthly reminder emails to review their action plan and access informational material through a link to asthma.ca. At the end of 9 months of the intervention there was no statistical difference seen between the two groups in the number of SABA refills or SABA doses per week. There was also no difference seen in asthma-related quality of life. Though this study did not find a statistically significant improvement of asthma care with the addition of an online asthma action plan, future study involving more extensive criteria and a more developed online tool may determine this to be a worthwhile intervention in the future.