Objectives for algorithmic decision-making systems in childhood asthma: Perspectives of children, parents, and physicians

Digit Health. 2024 Feb 21:10:20552076241227285. doi: 10.1177/20552076241227285. eCollection 2024 Jan-Dec.


Objectives: To identify with children, parents and physicians the objectives to be used as parameters for algorithmic decision-making systems (ADMSs) adapting treatments in childhood asthma.

Methods: We first conducted a qualitative study based on semi-structured interviews to explore the objectives that children aged 8-17 years, their parents, and their physicians seek to achieve when taking/giving/prescribing a treatment for asthma. Following the grounded theory approach, each interview was independently coded by two researchers; reconciled codes were used to assess code frequency, categories were defined, and the main objectives identified. We then conducted a quantitative study based on questionnaires using these objectives to determine how children/parents/physicians ranked these objectives and whether their responses were aligned.

Results: We interviewed 71 participants (31 children, 30 parents and 10 physicians) in the qualitative study and identified seven objectives associated with treatment uptake and five objectives associated with treatment modalities. We included 291 participants (137 children, 137 parents, and 17 physicians) in the quantitative study. We found little correlation between child, parent, and physician scores for each of the objectives. Each child's asthma history influenced the choice of scores assigned to each objective by the child, parents, and physician.

Conclusion: The identified objectives are quantifiable and relevant to the management of asthma in the short and long term. They can therefore be incorporated as parameters for future ADMS. Shared decision-making seems essential to achieve consensus among children, parents, and physicians when choosing the weight to assign to each of these objectives.

Keywords: Decision-making: computer-assisted; algorithms; asthma/drug therapy; child; shared decision-making.