Appropriate clinical management and the reduction of environmental triggers are essential components of a comprehensive approach to addressing asthma. Providing patients with the tools to effectively self manage their asthma can lead to improved quality of life and better asthma control. Clinicians, who include physicians, nurses, health educators, and community health outreach workers, are integral to creating a dialogue with patients about asthma management and the reduction of environmental triggers.
A key piece related to clinical asthma management and a cornerstone of RAMP’s clinical work is the Asthma Action Plan (AAP). The RAMP AAP was first developed in 2001 based on the National Asthma Guidelines that were being utilized at that time. The Plans served as a key clinical asthma management tool and were unique in that they were printed in triplicate (so families, the school or child care provider, and the health care provider could each have a copy) and in four languages (English, Spanish, Chinese, and Vietnamese) and were distributed and disseminated to various clinical providers at no cost. The original RAMP Asthma Action Plan was included in the 2007 update of the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) Asthma Guidelines as a sample clinical management tool. With the release of the 2007 NAEPP Asthma Guidelines, RAMP convened a group of clinical partners to review the existing Asthma Action Plan and determine what changes were needed based on the updated guidelines and recommendations. After a thorough review process and feedback from a variety of clinical partners and Asthma Action Plan users (families, school personnel, community health outreach workers, and clinicians), in November 2008 RAMP released a revised Asthma Action Plan that specifically responds to the changes in the guidelines. The Plans were again printed in triplicate and are still available for distribution at no cost and in four languages.
What RAMP is Doing
RAMP’s clinical work focuses on improving clinical management of asthma by linking providers to a larger public health framework. This includes policy and advocacy efforts, provider education, and further dissemination and integration of the Asthma Action Plan. Examples of our efforts related to clinical asthma management include:
- Advocacy around insurance coverage of asthma medications and equipment and coverage for patient education.
- Working with clinical partners on the incorporation of a social determinants of health approach to provider-patient interactions. To view the materials developed around these efforts please click here.
- Conducting regular meetings with Community Health Outreach Workers from across the Bay Area in order to provider opportunities for networking and to strengthen their work with patients and families around asthma self management.
- Development and implementation of a pilot project aimed at increasing the number of asthma management plans that get returned to school.
- Development of electronic versions of the Asthma Action Plans.
- Conducting provider trainings on utilization and incorporation of the Asthma Action Plans.