Evaluation of a Quality Improvement Collaborative in Asthma Care

Does It Improve Processes and Outcomes of Care?

Published in: Annals of Family Medicine, v. 3, no. 3, May/June 2005, p. 200-208.

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2005

by Matthias Schonlau, Rita Mangione-Smith, Kitty S. Chan, Joan Keesey, Mayde Rosen, Thomas A. Louis, Shin-Yi Wu, Emmett B. Keeler

PURPOSE: The authors examine whether a collaborative to improve asthma care influences process and outcomes of care in asthmatic adults. METHOD: They undertook a preintervention-postintervention evaluation of 185 patients in 6 intervention clinics and 3 matched control sites that participated in the Institute for Healthcare Improvement Breakthrough Series (BTS) Collaborative for asthma care. The intervention consisted of 3, 2-day educational sessions for teams dispatched by participating sites, which were followed by 3 action periods during the course of a year. RESULTS: Overall process of asthma care improved significantly in the intervention compared with the control group (change of 10% vs 1%, P =.003). Patients in the intervention group were more likely to attend educational sessions (20% vs 5%, P =.03). Having a written action plan, setting goals, monitoring peak flow rates, and using long-term asthma medications increased between 2% and 19% (not significant), but asthma-related knowledge was unchanged for the 2 groups. Patients in the BTS Collaborative were significantly more likely to be satisfied with clinician and lay educator communication (62% vs 39%, P =.02). Health-related quality of life, asthma-specific quality of life, number of bed days caused by asthma-related illness, and acute care service use were not significantly different between the 2 groups. CONCLUSIONS: The intervention was associated with improved process-of-care measures that have been linked with better outcomes. Patients benefited through increased satisfaction with communication. Follow-up of patients who participated in the intervention may have been too brief to be able to detect significant improvement in health-related outcomes.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.