Caring for children with asthma through teleconsultation: "ECHO-Pac, The Electronic Children's Hospital of the Pacific"

Telemed J E Health. 2004 Summer;10(2):138-46. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2004.10.138.


A Web-based store-and-forward teleconsultation asthma management system was implemented to provide subspecialty asthma care to military children with asthma living in the Western Pacific. Seven children with moderate to severe asthma (mean age 11.9 +/- 3.7 years) were followed for 1 year by their primary care provider (PCM) using a Web-based asthma pathway, with regular pediatric pulmonary teleconsults to Tripler Army Medical Center. Therapeutic monitoring included MPEG video recording of patient using metered-dose inhaler (MDI) technique submitted to the pulmonologist at specified intervals. Utilization of services for unscheduled asthma-related visits was monitored. PCMs were surveyed regarding their asthma practice before and after the intervention. Data were analyzed using Student's t test for continuous variables and Wilcoxon signed-rank or chi-square for noncontinuous variables. Therapeutic adherence was evidenced by improved inhaler technique in all patients. There were fewer ED visits for asthma (3.85 +/- 5.14, range 0-15 vs. 0 visits, p < 0.05) and fewer unscheduled acute clinic visits (1.57 +/- 1.27, range 0-4 vs. 0.286 +/- 0.48, p < 0.05) in the study year versus the preceding year. There were two hospitalizations in the year prior to the study; however, no patients were hospitalized during the study PCM use of an asthma action plan increased from 24% to 73% (p < 0.01) and provision of asthma education increased from 18% to 73%, (p < 0.01). However, PCMs reported that they were not more likely to watch their patient's MDI technique themselves (29% vs. 45%) nor order or interpret spirometry on their patients (12 vs. 18%). In this project, children with asthma followed by teleconsultation had improved outcomes. Store-and-forward teleconsultation can be used to follow children with chronic disease such as asthma over time.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers
  • Adolescent
  • Asthma / therapy*
  • Caregivers*
  • Child
  • Disease Management
  • Female
  • Guam
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • Male
  • Remote Consultation*
  • Telemedicine*