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Respirology. 2019 Jun 20. doi: 10.1111/resp.13611. [Epub ahead of print]

Assessing appropriateness of paediatric asthma management: A population-based sample survey.

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Discipline of Paediatrics, School of Women's and Children's Health, Faculty of Medicine, UNSW Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
Respiratory Department, Sydney Children's Hospital, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
Australian Centre for Precision Health, University of South Australia Cancer Research Institute, University of South Australia, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), Adelaide, SA, Australia.
Centre for Healthcare Resilience and Implementation Science, Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, Australia.



We conducted a comprehensive assessment of guideline adherence in paediatric asthma care, including inpatient and ambulatory services, in Australia.


National and international clinical practice guidelines (CPG) relating to asthma in children were searched and 39 medical record audit indicator questions were developed. Retrospective medical record review was conducted across hospital inpatient admissions, emergency department (ED) presentations, general practice (GP) and paediatrician consultations in three Australian states for children aged ≤15 years receiving care in 2012 and 2013. Eligibility of, and adherence to, indicators was assessed from medical records by nine experienced and purpose-trained paediatric nurses (surveyors).


Surveyors conducted 18 453 asthma indicator assessments across 1600 visits for 881 children in 129 locations. Overall, the adherence for asthma care across the 39 indicators was 58.1%, with 54.4% adherence at GP (95% CI: 46.0-62.5), 77.7% by paediatricians (95% CI: 40.5-97.0), 79.9% in ED (95% CI: 70.6-87.3) and 85.1% for inpatient care (95% CI: 76.7-91.5). For 14 acute asthma indicators, overall adherence was 56.3% (95% CI: 47.6-64.7). Lowest adherences were for recording all four types of vital signs in children aged >2 years presenting with asthma attack (15.1%, 95% CI: 8.7-23.7), and reviewing patients' compliance, inhaler technique and triggers prior to commencing a new drug therapy (20.5%, 95% CI: 10.1-34.8).


The study demonstrated differences between existing care and CPG recommendations for paediatric asthma care in Australia. Evidence-based interventions to improve adherence to CPG may help to standardize quality of paediatric asthma care and reduce variation of care.


asthma; asthma management guidelines, paediatrics; paediatric asthma


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