An asthma action plan created by physician, educator and patient online collaboration with usability and visual design optimization

Respiration. 2012;84(5):406-15. doi: 10.1159/000338112. Epub 2012 Jul 10.


Background: Asthma action plans (AAPs), which decrease hospitalizations and improve symptom control, are recommended in guidelines, but are seldom delivered to patients. Existing AAPs have been developed by experts, without the inclusion of all stakeholders (such as patients with asthma) and without specifically addressing usability and visual design.

Objective: Our objective was to develop a more usable AAP by involving all stakeholders and considering design preferences.

Methods: We created a Wiki-based system for multiuser AAP development. Pulmonologists, primary care physicians, asthma educators and patients used the system to collaboratively compile a single AAP by making multiple online selections over 1 week. We combined common elements from 3 AAPs developed in this way into 1, optimized visual design features and tested face validity in focus groups.

Results: A total of 41 participants averaged 646 selections/week over a login-time of 28.8 h/week. Of 35 participants, 28 (80%) were satisfied with the final AAP and 32 (91%) perceived that they would be able to use it. The plans created by the 3 groups were very similar, with a unanimous or majority agreement in the handling of 100/110 (91%) AAP options.

Conclusions: Inclusion of multiple stakeholders and focus on design preferences predict enhanced usability and uptake of medical tools. The validity of our AAP is further supported by the similarity between the AAPs created by each group, user engagement and satisfaction with the plan and agreement with existing validity criteria proposed by experts. This AAP can be implemented in care with a concurrent measurement of uptake and health impact.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asthma / therapy*
  • Audiovisual Aids
  • Consensus
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Educators
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Care Planning*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Patients
  • Physicians
  • Self Care / methods*
  • User-Computer Interface*