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Specialist care in individuals with asthma who required hospitalization

Published: June 25, 2021

Asthma affects more than 300 million people worldwide and poses a significant strain on healthcare resources. Acute intensification of asthma symptoms, known as flare-ups, asthma attacks, or exacerbations, is a hallmark of asthma and may require hospitalization. Patients who are at risk of severe asthma exacerbations requiring hospitalization should receive specialist care. However, the care pattern for such patients in the ‘real world’ and the factors associated with receiving specialist care are unclear.

Kendzerska et al. in their recently published study in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, analyzed health administrative data (i.e., data from healthcare encounters) obtained from 2 Canadian provinces, Ontario and British Columbia (BC), between 2006 and 2018, to describe the pattern of care among individuals (aged 14 to 45 years) who were newly diagnosed with asthma who required hospital admission and to identify factors associated with receiving asthma specialist care.

For 1,862 individuals included, the authors found that, despite recommendations, most individuals (≥71%) were cared for by their primary care physicians 1 year prior and 2 years after the asthma diagnosis; the percentage of individuals seen at least once by a specialist for asthma and/or asthma-related respiratory conditions during the first 6 months following the diagnosis did not exceed 40%. Among individuals under primary care before the asthma diagnosis, controlling for covariates, living in a rural area or a low-income neighborhood were associated with less likelihood of receiving specialist care. Identified factors associated with receiving asthma specialist care suggested access is an important barrier to receiving the recommended care.

The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice is an official journal of the AAAAI, focusing on practical information for the practicing clinician.

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