Telemedicine, School-Based Medication Therapy Can Improve Asthma Outcomes

JANUARY 15, 2018
Jennifer Barrett, Assistant Editor
Children with asthma who receive a combination of telemedicine support and school-based medication therapy may be less likely to need an asthma-related emergency room or hospital visit, according to a new study.

The study, published in JAMA Pediatrics and carried out by researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), builds on previous research indicating that children with asthma who took preventive medication at school under supervision of a school nurse were less likely to have asthma issues.

In addition to school-based medication therapy, the use of telemedicine can allow for the child’s primary care provider to be readily involved in the child’s care. The researchers noted that school-based programs that incorporate telemedicine can link to primary care to improve outcomes for children with asthma in underserved communities.

In the study, the researchers examined 400 urban schoolaged children between the ages of 3 and 10 years old. Half of the students were given their asthma medication by a school nurse, received an initial asthma assessment, and had up to 2 follow-up school-based visits with primary care clinicians through telemedicine.

The other students were given recommendations for preventive care and advised to schedule follow-up visits with their primary care clinician, but were not enrolled in the school-based program and did not have follow-up visits scheduled by telemedicine.

According to the researchers, students in the first group had more symptom-free days than students in the second group. Only 7% of them required an emergency room visit or hospitalization for asthma over the course of the school year, compared with 15% in the second group.

Overall, the findings indicate that a collaborative approach to asthma care can help prevent asthma-related issues in children. The inclusion of a pharmacist to school-based medication therapy could further enhance outcomes, ensuring that children, faculty, and parents are properly educated on asthma medication management.

The study was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institute of Health.

Reference

Halterman J, Fagnano M, Reynaldo TS, et al. Effect of the school-based telemedicine enhanced asthma management (SB-TEAM) program on asthma morbidity. JAMA Pediatrics. 2018. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.4938
 

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