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HOSPITALIZATION REDUCTION BY AN ASTHMA TELE-MEDICINE SYSTEM

Kokubu F, Nakajima S, Ito K, Makino S, Kitamura S, Fukuchi Y, Mano K, Sano Y, Inoue H, Morita Y, Fukuda K, Akiyama K, Adachi M, Miyamoto T.
First Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, Showa University.
Arerugi 2000 Jan;49(1):19-31

We examined an effectiveness of a new asthma telemedicine system in reducing hospitalizations using a multi-site randomized control study. In this program, a nurse under physician supervision monitors the patient's airway status at home and provides instructions to individuals via the telephone, helping them manage exacerbations as well as reinforcing proper use of a zone-controlled management plan.

Patients with a high risk for hospitalization were screened based on the numbers of emergency room visits and hospitalizations found in a previous study and randomly assigned to either the telemedicine or control group. After a six-month study period, an 83% reduction in hospitalization was demonstrated in the telemedicine group versus the control group, with a P value of 0.01. Improvement of peak expiratory flow and symptoms were also shown in the study group.

We conclude that the key success factors in home asthma management for poorly controlled asthma patients are early detection of exacerbations through daily peak flow monitoring, compliance with prescribed daily prophylactic anti-inflammatory steroid medications, and immediate action as specified by a zone-controlled action plan upon the first signs of deterioration.

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