Our objective was to investigate the impact of increased asthma awareness among primary care physicians on the asthma control and satisfaction of their patients. Physicians attended an asthma education session with emphasis on patient-physician partnership followed by 4 month monitored follow-up of patients aged 5-44 years with mild to moderate asthma. Findings were compared with a group of patients whose physician attended the session but did not participate in the follow-up and two other control groups. The study included pediatricians and general practitioners of Maccabi Healthcare Services and their patients. Asthma symptoms were rated by patients and physicians. Data on drug prescription and use were derived from the Maccabi central database. Patient response and satisfaction and physician satisfaction were evaluated by telephone interviews. Mean asthma symptom score improved from 2.0 to 1.1 in the study group of patients (p<0.001). The use of reliever drugs decreased concomitantly with a rise in controller drugs in all patients. An improvement in asthma status was reported by 64% of the study patients and 39% of non-participating patients (p = 0.007). Fifty-eight percent of the patients rated their competence to deal with asthma as high before the intervention compared to 62% of the participating and 55% of the non-participating patients after the intervention (p=0.002). Most physicians claimed that simply increasing their awareness on asthma led to beneficial results in their patients. Physician education followed by monitored follow-up enhanced asthma control and patient satisfaction. Nevertheless, physician education alone appears to have a significant isolated impact on asthma control.
- Increases asthma control
- Physician awareness