Treating Kids with Asthma: Breathing Easier While Saving $7.5 Million
For asthma sufferers, an attack can come on suddenly. And uncontrolled asthma can also lead to a trip to the hospital.
To curb those frantic ER visits, and better address the needs of asthma patients, Akron Children’s embarked on a 4-year effort to identify undiagnosed children and give those who have asthma more tools to manage it. This effort has involved multiple teams working together from all aspects of the hospital system, including inpatient services, specialty services, primary care, the emergency department, home care and school health.
The results were impressive.
Since the asthma registry launched in late 2014 to track outcomes, Akron Children’s has seen a 15 percent decrease in the number of asthma-related ER visits and a 30 percent decrease in asthma-related hospitalizations. Annually, these results will save more than $3 million in healthcare expenditures.
“This means a lot more kids will be able to stay in school and continue to learn, sleep through the night, and run and play like their friends without asthma,” said P. Cooper White, MD, a pediatrician and medical staff president at Akron Children’s. “Our focus on this area as a hospital has paid off; we are now seeing the results. But we still have more work to do in reaching our goals.”
A key component in reducing asthma-related ER visits and hospitalizations is Easy Breathing®, an evidence-based asthma management program that is standardizing the diagnosis and treatment of the disease in Akron Children’s 28 primary care offices throughout northern Ohio.
The program uses a simple questionnaire to identify children with asthma, helps providers align treatment with severity of disease, and helps determine the most appropriate timing and level of care.
“The Easy Breathing program really brings all the pieces together,” said Dr. White. “It’s a great example of 21st century medicine. It has elements of quality improvement, population health, and effective use of guidelines – and it helps children lead healthier lives.”
Controlling Asthma When Kids Are on the Go
What Neckole Herring Has Learned Parenting 4 Kids with Asthma.
“I’ve learned asthma is a serious condition that can land your child in the hospital if you’re not careful. It’s a disease you can’t play around with or take lightly,” she says.
She feels her children – Govanna, 16; Martell, 12; Marquis, 10; and Martwion, 8 – have their asthma mostly under control thanks to Dr. P. Cooper White, their pediatrician at Akron Children’s Hospital’s Locust Pediatric Care Group.
As Neckole can attest, asthma can be managed if you work closely with your healthcare providers and make sure your children are following their treatment plans. “They each play 2 sports now,” she said. “We love our doctors, but it’s definitely nice to spend less time in the ER or the hospital.”