Asthma is the most common chronic illness in adolescents and children, affecting an estimated seven million children up to the age of 17 in the United States. The burden of asthma on children is substantial: kids with asthma have a three-fold greater risk of school absence than children without asthma, and asthma is the third leading cause of hospitalization among children under the age of 15.
Some parents of children with asthma have a tough time complying with treatment guidelines. Numerous surveys report between 40 to 60 percent of kids with persistent asthma are not receiving controller medications as they should. But there may be a solution. New study results from Seattle Children's Research Institute found that parents who used an interactive website to track their child's usage of asthma controller medications, improved compliance with asthma controller medication use.
"An Interactive Website to Improve Parental Compliance with Asthma Treatment Guidelines: A Randomized Controlled Trial," was published this week in Academic Pediatrics.
Led by Dimitri Christakis, MD, MPH, the study found that the most significant benefits to this web-based approach were the interactivity and scaleability of the intervention which made it convenience and easy for parents to use. Scaleability is the ability of computer hardware or software to continue to function well when it is changed to meet a user's needs.
The website, called "My Child's Asthma," queried more than 600 parents enrolled in the study automatically without healthcare staff time, making the site both effective and low cost. Typical questions asked include: "During a recent typical week, on how many days has your child used quick-relief medicine?" and "How often has your child had chest tightness, cough shortness of breath or wheezing?" The site was developed to increase positive beliefs about asthma management, optimize care by increasing provider-prescribed controllers for children with persistent asthma, and promote controller compliance among children on controllers.