The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) today announced recommendations for improving the cost-effectiveness and quality of asthma care in the U.S. The National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) Report on the Cost Effectiveness, Quality of Care, and Financing of Asthma Care appears as a supplement to the September issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
"This report helps us understand the practical issues in the financing and delivery of asthma care that often prevent clinicians from using the latest scientific knowledge to provide optimal care," said NHLBI Director Dr. Claude Lenfant. "Now, for the first time, we can design the scientific research to fit the complexities of the delivery system. In fact, the Institute has already initiated a randomized clinical trial to test the cost-effectiveness of the national asthma guidelines in three managed care organizations," he said.
"We hope that health policy makers and health insurers also will address the financial issues identified by the task force so that more people with asthma can have access to the latest scientific knowledge about the diagnosis and treatment of this serious chronic condition," he added.
The task force was created to review and assess the economic factors that affect the quality of care received by asthma patients. Through three working groups, the task force reviewed the literature, held hearings with asthma providers and patients throughout the country, and conducted surveys and other analyses. Its recommendations include a simple model for implementing quality asthma care and a standardized approach for evaluating cost-effectiveness. It also recommends improvements in the financing of asthma care, especially for high-risk populations.