Objective: To evaluate the basic structures and processes of asthma care 6 years after the launch of the Finnish Asthma Programme. The evaluation will serve as the baseline for the implementation of the evidence-based guidelines for asthma published in 2000.
Design: A descriptive type-2 evaluation (managerial monitoring of a policy implementation), based on operationalised statements of the Asthma Programme.
Results: A co-ordinating doctor for asthma, usually a general practitioner (GP), was interviewed in 248 (91%) health centres; 83% of the health centres have at least one GP nominated as the local asthma co-ordinator and 94% have a nurse. Asthma education for the professionals had been organised in 71% of the health centres in the previous 2 years. First-line treatment consists of an inhaled corticosteroid. Guided self-management is used in 98% of the health centres, but its components were not clear to the doctors.
Conclusion: The basic structure of equipment and organisation for the diagnosis and treatment of asthma has been set up in the primary health care services.