CHIS Data Point to Needed Asthma Management Improvements

Low flu vaccination rates. High use of emergency care. Low usage of asthma management plans. These are three of the challenges facing children with asthma in California, according to research published in the July, 2015, journal Population Health Management.

The authors, using data from the California Health Interview Survey, found that only 38% of children with asthma have a current asthma management plan. Such plans – like RAMP’s – are a key tool for supporting patients in the management of their asthma.

Additionally, the researchers found that flu vaccination rates weren’t that much higher than the general pediatric population, when they should be. “We were surprised to see that about half of all children with asthma had not received a flu shot in the past year,” said one of the lead researchers. “Children with asthma are at high risk of becoming really sick from the flu and of developing pneumonia, even if their asthma is mild or their symptoms are well-controlled.”

Many children with asthma – one third – are also visiting the emergency room for disease symptoms. Lack of access to their own health care provider was one of the major factors behind such visits.

These challenges also point to some solutions. As the researchers note, “focusing on improved care coordination and preventive care for high-risk groups is especially urgent given the expansion of public health insurance and impending shortages in the primary care workforce.”