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Asthma QI Demonstration Project


Asthma is one of the most common and costly diseases in the United States. An estimated 20 million Americans or 1 in 15 suffers from asthma at a cost of $18 billion annually (Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America). With a charitable contribution from AstraZeneca, the Public Health Foundation (PHF) completed two phases of the quality improvement (QI) demonstration project called We Can Do Better: Improving Asthma Outcomes in America. The project brought together asthma stakeholders from the public health community to use QI tools and methods to identify areas where they could improve asthma management outcomes in two separate phases:
Phase I Identify Strategies and Characteristics Essential to Asthma Management
In 2008, PHF convened and facilitated three regional community meetings of 72 state and local health community leaders, which revealed asthma strategies that worked, failed to work, and those factors contributing to each. Using the Affinity Diagram and Start-Stop Matrix QI methods, participants identified and organized more than 900 strategies and characteristics that in their experience contribute to successful asthma prevention and control. View the complete project results, lessons learned, and an inventory of state-specific and national asthma resources in the full report:


Phase II – Apply QI to Produce Measurable Improvements in Asthma Management

In 2010 and 2011, PHF worked with four Knoxville, Tennessee teams to use the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle framework to achieve measurable improvements in the management of asthma. Applying QI methods such as brainstorming, flow-charting and the PDCA cycle, the teams developed several products to improve the quality and consistency of asthma education in schools and in clinical care:

  • The Knox County Health Department and the Knox County Schools developed a community initiative brand “It takes a village to care for a child with Asthma” as well as a Teacher Asthma Reference Card to be carriedIt Takes a Village Asthma Brand.jpg by all school staff with their identification badges. An asthma toolkit for school nurses, parent-fact sheets, and an online learning module on asthma for teachers were also developed and are being piloted tested and evaluated in the 2011-12 school year. All efforts had the goal of reducing the negative impact of asthma in Knox County Schools.
  • Summit Medical Group developed “Go With Go With The Flow.jpgThe Flow” educational posters to promote consistent use of asthma protocols and action plans among staff to improve patient health outcomes. The PDCA improvement process opened a dialogue between the Summit health care providers to establish a seamless patient referral system. Summit anticipates that this project will lead to improved asthma outcomes, including reduction in urgent care visits and hospitalizations, as well as improved health outcomes and quality of life for asthma patients. 
View the final report and one-page summaries summarizing QI demonstration projects in Knoxville, Tennessee:  


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Asthma QI Demonstration Project