Unexpected results of a randomized quality improvement program for children with severe asthma

J Asthma. 2021 May;58(5):596-603. doi: 10.1080/02770903.2020.1723621. Epub 2020 Feb 6.


Objective: To assess whether an asthma intervention program reduces treatment days outside the home among children with severe asthma receiving comprehensive care (CC) in our center.Methods: Between October 21, 2014 and September 28, 2016, children with severe asthma were randomized to receive CC alone (n = 29) or CC plus the asthma intervention program (n = 34) which involved collaboration with pharmacists and school nurses, motivational interviewing, and tracking the one-second forced expiratory volume at home. All patients were followed through March 31, 2017. Frequentist and Bayesian intent-to-treat analyses were performed.Results: The asthma intervention program doubled the telephone calls between the staff and families (753 vs 356 per 100 child years for the intervention group vs. control group; Rate Ratio [RR], 2.11 [95% confidence interval, 1.29-3.45]). Yet, we found no evidence that it reduced the composite number of days of healthcare outside home which includes: clinic visits, ED visits, and hospital admissions (1179 vs 958 per 100 child-years in the intervention group vs. control group; [RR], 1.23 [95% CI, 0.82-1.84]) or secondary outcomes which are individual components (clinic visits, ED visits, hospitalizations, PICU admissions and school absences; RR 1.15 - 2.30; p > 0.05). Bayesian analysis indicated a 67% probability that the intervention program increases total treatment days outside the home and only a 14% probability of a true decrease of >20% as originally hypothesized.Conclusion: A multi-component intervention program provided to children with severe asthma failed to reduce and may have increased days of healthcare outside home and school absenteeism.

Keywords: Bronchial disease; lung disease; obstructive; respiratory hypersensitivity; respiratory tract disease.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism
  • Adolescent
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities / statistics & numerical data
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Asthma / therapy*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Communication
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence*
  • Motivation
  • Patient Care Team
  • Program Evaluation
  • Quality Improvement
  • Respiratory Function Tests