Physicians who want to provide the most up-to-date diagnostic and treatment methods for their asthma patients can now find, on one online site, virtually all the scientific literature on chronic asthma that has ever been published. The new web site is the Asthma Management Model System (AMMS), launched today by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institues of Health in recognition of World Asthma Day.
The AMMS was designed by the NHLBI's National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) to help improve the diagnosis and treatment of asthma. It is an interactive web-based system that provides users with the ability to quickly formulate research questions and access key databases, retrieve the latest treatment guidelines and published literature, obtain continuing education credits, and browse and download materials. One of the striking features of the AMMS is its ability to bring together several high-tech functions within one integrated system for those clinicians who are on the cutting edge of asthma management.
Said NHLBI Director Dr. Claude Lenfant, "With its theme of 'Help Our Children Breathe,' World Asthma Day is an occasion on which we are communicating to people of all nations that asthma is a worldwide burden. The Asthma Management Model System provides an important tool to help health care professionals, researchers, and public health planners at home and abroad reduce this burden."
The AMMS, which can be accessed through the NHLBI home page at www.nhlbi.nih.gov, provides a unique tool for health professionals who wish to analyze problems relating to long-term asthma management. After clicking on the research mode, the user can select search terms, and the system automatically formulates a question that asks what effect a selected treatment will have on a selected outcome in asthma patients for whom selected conditions or factors are known. The system then retrieves the relevant information from such major scientific databases as MEDLINE, CRISP, and CORDIS, and documents from Federal government agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration.
The AMMS also offers a professional education mode that provides immediate access to the latest asthma clinical guidelines from the NAEPP and the Global Initiative for Asthma, continuing medical education programs for physicians, other professional and patient education materials, and tools for physicians to teach other health professionals and patients about asthma.
Another major feature of the AMMS is a site that allows users to participate in online forums and discussions. This includes an Asthma Coalition Exchange, which is designed to foster information sharing and networking among community-based asthma coalitions throughout the country. The exchange is part of a larger NAEPP program to develop partnerships with local asthma coalitions to help implement change in the way asthma is managed at the community level.
It is intended that the AMMS will eventually connect to online forums and discussion groups for asthma patients. Visitors will also be able to register for regular updates on new features that are added to the site.
The NAEPP was created in 1989 to reduce death and disability from asthma through professional, patient, and public education. It has developed the AMMS as an educational resource for health care professionals that should result in improvements in the way asthma is managed. Plans to expand patient and public education components are in development.