Introduction: The Singapore National Asthma Program (SNAP) was launched in 2001 to address the high burden of asthma in Singapore. One component of the SNAP was directed at improving asthma control in the community by promoting preventive treatment with inhaled corticosteroids. This paper describes the program on prescription patterns of preventor and reliever medication for asthma in the polyclinics.
Materials and methods: We monitored the prescription pattern for asthma as the preventor-reliever (PR) drug ratio. The PR ratio was employed both as a positive feedback tool and as a key performance indicator (KPI) for the program. Individual clinics were encouraged to implement locally relevant and effective initiatives to increase the KPI and facilitate this process. The different methods included chronic care models, multidisciplinary teams, enhanced primary care clinics, pre-counselling screening, decision support tools, self-management support, a patient information system and community education.
Results: In the course of the program, the case load for asthma in the polyclinics increased by 31%. During the same period, the average PR ratio increased significantly from 0.68 to 1.80 (P <0.001).
Conclusions: A simple audit and positive feedback program based on PR ratios, accompanied by sustained local quality improvement cycles has been associated with a significant shift in the drug treatment of asthma away from episodic quick relief medication towards long-term daily preventive treatment with inhaled steroids in polyclinics.