Patient compliance with assessing and monitoring of asthma.

J Asthma. 2009 Dec;46(10):1027-31. Jiang H, Han J, Zhu Z, Xu W, Zheng J, Zhu Y. Department of Pneumology, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing, P.R. China.

BACKGROUND: The current asthma guidelines encourage use of a diary for assessing and monitoring symptoms and airway function. However, patient compliance and acceptability are usually poor owing to the burden of frequent and prolonged assessment.

OBJECTIVE: We investigated whether better patient compliance could be ensured if a study was more relevant to patient convenience and had less impact on their daily life.

METHODS: A total of 106 patients with symptomatic asthma underwent a fixed-time thrice-daily assessment schedule for a period lasting 2 weeks, and they were assigned to a doctor visit after the assessment. Symptoms and medication use were recorded in a booklet (paper diary) and airway function measured by a portable spirometer (electronic diary).

RESULTS: Of 4,452 expected entries, the paper diary yielded 3,186 compliant entries and the electronic diary yielded 3,557 compliant entries; 71% of patients completed at least 30 compliant entries in the paper diary and 79% in the electronic diary. Use of an electronic device was associated with better compliance compared with paper technique (80.0% vs. 71.7%, p < 0.0001). Patient compliance decreased in the second week compared with the first week of diary keeping for both types of diaries (paper diary: 68.6% vs. 74.8%, p < 0.0001; electronic diary: 76.7% vs. 83.4%, p < 0.0001). The morning compliance was the least good, the afternoon better, and the evening best (paper diary: 68.2% vs. 71.0% vs. 75.9%, p < 0.0001; electronic diary: 77.2% vs. 79.0% vs. 83.9%, p < 0.0001). Among demographics and clinical factors, higher anxiety levels were linked to lower patient compliance.

CONCLUSION: Good patient compliance and acceptability can be achieved when a study takes into account patient convenience, uses user friendly electronic devices, and is less disruptive to patients' daily life.

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