Background: Medicaid-insured children have high risk of asthma but are less likely to receive care in keeping with national guidelines. We targeted providers who care for a large proportion of Medicaid-insured children and presented a 2-session multimedia asthma-education seminar that emphasizes communication and teaching techniques, to enhance providers' asthma-care teaching skills.
Methods: Five Medicaid-approved health maintenance organizations recruited pediatric primary-care providers. Providers were surveyed at baseline, 6 months, and 12 months to determine if they reported changes in their use of certain asthma-care communication techniques.
Results: Fifty-three of 70 participating providers completed the program and initial survey. They reported that 50% (median) of their patients were insured by Medicaid. At baseline, providers reported they were very confident of their asthma knowledge; however, they were less confident in interactions with patients/families regarding asthma self-management skills. Providers reported use of written plans less than half of the time. The response rate was 60% at 6 months and 71% at 1 year. Twenty-eight providers completed all 3 surveys. They reported significantly more frequent use of communication and counseling techniques that involved patient/parent asthma education and self-management skills at the 6-month point, that were partly sustained at 1 year. Reported provision of written asthma plans to patients had increased significantly at 6 months, but that increase was not sustained at the 1-year point.
Conclusions: The seminar significantly enhanced knowledge of specific communication techniques related to asthma-teaching goals and reported use of asthma action plans to enhance self-management skills; however, these practices appear to need frequent reinforcement.