New research has found that adherence to guidelines-based ?best practices? in diagnosing and treating asthma varies among medical specialties. A survey of >340 physicians showed that all participating physicians reported suboptimal familiarity with, and use of, at least 1 of the key factors of the guidelines outlined by the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP).
The guidelines recommend that physicians classify a patient?s asthma severity, prescribe medications according to that severity, provide patients with a written asthma management plan, and educate patients on proper inhaler use. The results of the study, presented at CHEST 2003, found that 95% of allergists and 84% of pulmonologists were familiar with NAEPP guidelines, whereas only 42% of primary care physicians were familiar with the standards.
As for a written action plan, the results showed that, overall, half of the respondents indicated giving written action plans to <20% of their asthma patients. Almost 1 in 3 physicians gave proper inhaler instruction to <20% of patients, and 44% of physicians overall claimed to give instructions to all asthma patients. Pulmonologists and allergists received high marks in this area, with 74% and 69%, respectively.