Statewide Asthma Learning Collaborative Participation and Asthma-Related Emergency Department Use

Pediatrics. 2020 Dec;146(6):e20200213. doi: 10.1542/peds.2020-0213.


Background: Quality improvement (QI) efforts can improve guideline-recommended asthma care processes in the pediatric office setting. We sought to assess whether practice participation in an asthma QI collaborative was associated with decreased asthma-related emergency department (ED) visits.

Methods: A statewide network of practices participated in a pediatric asthma QI collaborative from 2015 to 2016. We evaluated asthma-related ED visit rates per 100 child-years for children ages 3 to 21 years with asthma, using the state's all-payer claims database. We used a difference-in-differences approach, with mixed-effects negative binomial regression models to control for practice and patient covariates. Our main analysis measured the outcome before (2014) and after (2017) the QI collaborative at fully participating and control practices. Additional analyses assessed (1) associations during the intervention period (2016) and (2) associations including practices partially participating in QI collaborative activities.

Results: In the postintervention year (2017), participating practices' (n = 20) asthma-related ED visit rate decreased by 5.8 per 100 child-years, compared to an increase of 1.8 per 100 child-years for control practices (n = 15; difference in differences = -7.3; P = .002). Within the intervention year (2016), we found no statistically significant differences in asthma-related ED visit rates compared to controls (difference in differences = -4.3; P = .17). The analysis including partially participating practices yielded similar results and inferences to our main analysis.

Conclusions: Participation in an asthma-focused QI collaborative was associated with decreased asthma-related ED visit rates. For those considering implementing this type of QI collaborative, our findings indicate that it takes time to see measurable improvements in ED visit rates. Further study is warranted regarding QI elements contributing to success for partial participants.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Asthma / therapy*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Quality Improvement*
  • Young Adult