The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2007 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

IMPROVING ASTHMA DISEASE MANAGEMENT AND REDUCING COSTS WITH EDUCATION

M. Voisin1, M. D. Voisin1

CONTEXT Asthma education programs have been implemented in healthcare facilities throughout the United States to improve the management of asthma and reduce costs associated with treating this chronic disease. Louisians Health Science Center at Chabert Medical Center (LSUHSC-CMC) offers patients an asthma program that both educates patients about asthma and also reduces costs.

OBJECTIVE To show if educating asthma patients can reduce costly emergency department visits while increasing less expensive clinic visits for asthma related problems.

DATA SOURCES LSUHSC-CMC asthma program data base of patient referrals from January 2004 to December 2005. Patient medical records were also examined to determine demographic information and to determine the number of clinic and emergency department visits.

STUDY SELECTION A retrospective cohort case-control design was implemented and applied to the LSUHSC-CMC data base to identify a sample of patients who were referred to the asthma program from the emergency department and acute care clinic for a two-year period.

DATA SYNTHESIS Of the 125 patients referred to the asthma program over the two-year study period, 77 received asthma education (CASES)and 48 did not receive asthma education (CONTROLS) for various reasons. The number of asthma related acute care clinic visits and ED visits for the CONTROL group were 142 clinc visits and 189 ED visits. The CASE group had 440 clinic visits and 78 ED visits. The approximate cost for treating asthma patients in the clinic is $159 and $785 for ED visits.

CONCLUSION This research demonstrates a healthcare cost savings when patients receive asthma education and gain better disease management control. Individual clinic visits and ED visits for the CASE group totaled 5.7 clinic visits and 1 ED visit. The CONTROL group had 2.9 clinic visits and 3.9 ED visits. The total individual costs for treating a CASE group patient was $1,091. The total for the CONTROL group was $3,351. The difference in individual treatment costs between the CASE group and the CONTROL group was $2,440 per patient. Asthma education programs can and do improve asthma disease management while reducing associated costs.

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