Outcomes of a Web-Based Patient Education Program for Asthmatic Children and Adolescents: IEP Use

On average, patients were logged in to the IEP for 2 h/mo, as indicated by the provider who maintains the IEP. The peak flow protocol section, the patient chat room, and the asthma adventure game were the most widely used modules.
The positive impact of the SPMP is fortified by the additional IEP as demonstrated in several outcome measures, including morbidity costs savings, QoL, absenteeism from school, number of asthma-related emergencies, and use of short-acting (3-agonists. Our subgroup analysis demonstrates that, within 1 year, morbidity cost savings exceed the intervention costs in patients who belong to risk groups (benefit-cost ratio > 1). Similar findings that reflect the influence of target population characteristics on the results can be found for other asthma education programs in the literature. this

Unsurprisingly, PEF increased significantly in our growing children in all three groups over time. Presumably, sample size was not big enough to detect any statistically differences in PEF gain between groups if there were any. At study entry, we observed minor impairment in lung function as measured by the FEV1. We did not observe any significant improvements in FEV1 values in the course of the investigation in any of the groups. Since lung function (PEF, FEV1) has not been recorded continuously throughout the study, missing data prevent us from drawing conclusions of the effects of the patient education program on lung function. However, several aspects remain to be discussed, since particularities in the study design and the patient population might limit the general transferability of our findings. As far as patient characteristics are concerned, significantly more patients in the CG were male compared to the intervention groups. Moreover, lower initial morbidity costs in the CG and the dissimilar distribution of asthma severity degrees reflect a selection bias within the framework of the chosen naturalistic study design. As asthma severity is the main predictor of health-care costs, we have addressed this issue by weighting the group-specific costs according to the underlying distribution of asthma severity. This approach gave us a valid approximation for the primary study outcome.

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