Study objectives: Asthma morbidity is highest among inner-city populations. This study measured whether quality and access to care over time was concordant with National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) guidelines. It also identified factors associated with NAEPP guideline-concordant care.
Design: A prospective, observational cohort study.
Setting: An urban academic medical center.
Patients: A consecutive cohort of 198 inner-city adults hospitalized for asthma.
Measurements: Detailed information about sociodemographics, asthma history, access to care, history of the current exacerbation, prescription and use of inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) and beta-agonists, and other elements of NAEPP-concordant care (spacers, metered-dose inhaler [MDI] technique, peak flow meters, and action plans) was collected during the index admission and 1 month and 6 months after discharge.
Results: In this predominantly low-income, nonwhite cohort, while 92% of patients had insurance and 80% had a usual source of care, 73% reported delays in seeking care. ICS were prescribed for 77% of patients prior to hospital admission, 83% at 1 month, and 67% at 6 months. Adherence with other NAEPP recommendations were 89% for receipt of MDI instruction, 68% for spacers, 80% for peak flow meters, 31% for written action plans for worsening, and 22% for written plans for attacks. In multivariate analysis, greater asthma severity and having a usual source of care increased the odds of receiving ICS, spacers, and peak flow meters. Care by a specialist increased the odds of receiving action plans. Patients who spoke mostly Spanish were less likely to be given spacers or action plans.
Conclusion: Baseline problems with quality and access to care persisted over time. Better systems of care are needed to ensure that high-risk patients receive an appropriate step-up in the quality of ongoing asthma care.