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J Asthma. 2018 Mar;55(3):252-258. doi: 10.1080/02770903.2017.1323917. Epub 2017 May 26.

Inhaled corticosteroid prescribing in a pediatric emergency department: Sustained success and prescription filling rates.

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a Department of Medicine , Vanderbilt University , Nashville , TN , USA.
b Department of Pediatrics , Medical University of South Carolina , Charleston , South Carolina , USA.



To determine if improvement in Inhaled Corticosteroid (ICS) prescribing in the pediatric emergency department (PED) can be sustained after transition from intense intervention to low-intervention phase, and to determine ICS fill rates.


A Quality Improvement (QI) project began in Aug 2012. Results through Feb 2014 were previously published. In Feb 2014 interventions were scaled back to determine the sustainability of QI success. Eligible patients included children aged 2-17 seen in the PED for asthma between Feb 2014 and Sept 2016. The primary change when moving to the low-intervention phase was stopping monthly attending feedback. The primary outcome was the proportion of patients who were prescribed an ICS at the time of PED discharge. The secondary objective of this study was to determine the proportion of patients who filled their ICS prescription in the 6 months following Emergency Department (ED) visit.


The goal rate of ICS prescribing was 75%. After transition to the low-intervention phase, the ICS prescribing rate was maintained at a median of 79% through Sept 2016. ICS fill rate in the first 30 days following ED visit was 89%, although this quickly fell to below 40% for months 2-6.


The ICS prescribing rate remained the goal of 75% over a 2.5-year period after transition to a low-intervention phase. High ICS fill rates immediately after ED visit have been demonstrated. However, rapid decline in these rates over subsequent months suggests a need for future efforts to focus on long-term ICS adherence among children with ED visits for asthma.


Controller medications; ED aftercare compliance; medication adherence; preventive care; quality improvement

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