Assessing asthma management from interviews of patients and family physicians

J Asthma. 1997;34(3):203-9. doi: 10.3109/02770909709068190.


Directed self-care is recommended in asthma. Adequate patient education and follow-up are nevertheless necessary to optimize outcomes. We compared the agreement between detailed information on asthma history and management, collected from the patient and the family physician, to validate the files of physicians and to assess patients' knowledge, attitude, and behavior concerning asthma. A sample of 54 asthma patients were interviewed in detail about use of medications and self-care practice; 36 family physicians (FPs) were interviewed concerning asthma therapy, history, and attitudes of the same patients. Forty-eight percent of the patients expressed negative attitudes toward inhaled corticosteroids, for reasons of safety or lack of efficacy. Less than 20% of the patients made regular use of a peak flow meter. Eighty-three percent of the patients usually obtained prescriptions for asthma therapy from their FP, but on average, only 40% of these prescriptions were provided during visits specific to asthma. FPs were not optimally informed of actual treatments and outcomes and had poor perception of patients' attitudes toward treatment. Nonetheless, in about 30% of the patients, FPs identified risk factors for adverse outcome, such as depression and family conflicts. A majority of interviewed patients had a negative perception of anti-inflammatory therapy, specifically relating to issues of safety and efficacy. Peak flow meters were seldom used and therapy was commonly prescribed outside visits specific to asthma. Despite being centrally involved in the care of asthma patients, FP did not optimally assess therapy and outcomes. The findings suggest suboptimal education and health status in this asthma population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adolescent
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / administration & dosage
  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists / administration & dosage
  • Adult
  • Asthma / drug therapy
  • Asthma / therapy*
  • Family Practice
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Patients
  • Peak Expiratory Flow Rate
  • Self Care


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists