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Improving the Quality of Asthma Care Using the Internet

Phase 2/Phase 3
21 Years
60 Years
Not Enrolling

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Trial Information

Improving the Quality of Asthma Care Using the Internet

Asthma is a common cause of illness and lost productivity, including missed days of work and
school, in the United States. It is important for people with asthma to become involved in
their treatment and care. Previous studies have shown that encouraging people to ask their
doctor for various medical tests and treatments improves preventive care (e.g., cancer
screenings), but more research is needed on the effect this can have on asthma management.
This study will involve an interactive Web site that will ask patients questions about their
asthma symptoms and medications and provide suggestions and feedback on the types of
questions patients may want to ask their doctors. By asking questions about their asthma
care and increasing communication with their doctor, patients may experience improved
quality of asthma care and better asthma control. The purpose of this study is to evaluate
the impact of the interactive Web site on asthma control and other measures of asthma

This 12-month study will enroll people with asthma. Participants will be randomly assigned
to either the Asthma Feedback group or the Preventive Feedback (control) group. Both groups
will log in to the study Web site at least once a month for 12 months and before all doctor
visits. After logging in to the Web site, participants in the Asthma Feedback group will
answer a series of questions about their asthma care. They will then receive information and
feedback on the types of questions they should ask their asthma care provider during their
next office visit. Participants in the Preventive Feedback group will answer questions and
receive information and feedback regarding preventive services (e.g., cancer screening,
cholesterol screening) that they should discuss with their primary care provider. At
baseline and Months 6 and 12, all participants will complete online questionnaires regarding
their asthma and overall health. Study researchers will review participants' medical records
and insurance claims data at the end of the study.

Inclusion Criteria:

Only individuals with persistent asthma will be considered for this study. These
definitions are made based on definitions from the National Committee for Quality
Assurance (NCQA) and include individuals who meet either criteria A or B:

- A: (Four or more prescription medications used for asthma treatment in 1 year) OR
(One or more visits to the emergency room with a principal diagnosis of asthma in 1
year) OR (One or more inpatient hospital visits with a principal diagnosis of asthma
in 1 year)

- B: (Four or more outpatient visits with any diagnosis of asthma) AND (two or more
claims for a prescription drug used for asthma treatment in 1 year)


Inclusion Criteria:

- Speaks and reads English fluently

- Member of Highmark

- Has access to the Internet at home or at work

- Has a valid e-mail address

- No history of more than 20 pack-years of cigarette smoking

- Enrolled in a Highmark health plan offering that includes prescription drug coverage

Exclusion Criteria:

- Does not speak English

- Does not have Internet access at home or work

- Smoked more than 20 pack-years (to exclude possible chronic obstructive pulmonary
disease [COPD])

- Does not currently have asthma

- Pregnant

- Unwilling to consent

Type of Study:


Study Design:

Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Investigator)

Outcome Measure:

Asthma control - as measured by the Asthma Control Test

Outcome Time Frame:

Measured at Year 1

Safety Issue:


Principal Investigator

Christopher N Sciamanna, MD, MPH

Investigator Role:

Principal Investigator

Investigator Affiliation:

Penn State University


United States: Federal Government

Study ID:




Start Date:

August 2009

Completion Date:

February 2013

Related Keywords:

  • Asthma
  • Asthma



Penn State Hershey Medical Center, Penn State College of Medicine Hershey, Pennsylvania  17033