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J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2006 Mar-Apr;46(2):133-47.

The Asheville Project: long-term clinical, humanistic, and economic outcomes of a community-based medication therapy management program for asthma.

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Department of Pharmacy, Diabetes & Health Education Center, Mission Hospitals, Asheville, NC, USA.



To assess clinical, humanistic, and economic outcomes of a community-based medication therapy management (MTM) program for 207 adult patients with asthma over 5 years.


Quasi-experimental, longitudinal pre-post study.


12 pharmacy locations in Asheville, N.C. PATIENTS/OTHER PARTICIPANTS: Patients with asthma covered by two self-insured health plans; professional educator at Mission Hospitals; 18 certificate-trained community and hospital pharmacists.


Education by a certified asthma educator; regular long-term follow-up by pharmacists (reimbursed for MTM by health plans) using scheduled consultations, monitoring, and recommendations to physicians.


Changes in forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), asthma severity, symptom frequency, the degree to which asthma affected people's lives, presence of an asthma action plan, asthma-related emergency department/hospital events, and changes in asthma-related costs over time.


All objective and subjective measures of asthma control improved and were sustained for as long as 5 years. FEV1 and severity classification improved significantly. The proportion of patients with asthma action plans increased from 63% to 99%. Patients with emergency department visits decreased from 9.9% to 1.3%, and hospitalizations from 4.0% to 1.9%. Spending on asthma medications increased; however, asthma-related medical claims decreased and total asthma-related costs were significantly lower than the projections based on the study population's historical trends. Direct cost savings averaged 725 dollars/patient/year, and indirect cost savings were estimated to be 1230 dollars/patient/year. Indirect costs due to missed/nonproductive workdays decreased from 10.8 days/year to 2.6 days/year. Patients were six times less likely to have an emergency department/hospitalization event after program interventions.


Patients with asthma who received education and long-term medication therapy management services achieved and maintained significant improvements and had significantly decreased overall asthma-related costs despite increased medication costs that resulted from increased use.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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