Pediatricians are required to perform quality improvement for board recertification. We developed an asthma project within the Pediatric Physicians’ Organization at Children’s, an independent practice association affiliated with Boston Children’s Hospital, designed to meet recertification requirements and improve asthma care.
The program was based on the learning collaborative model. We developed practice-based registries of children 5 to 17 years of age with persistent asthma and helped physicians improve processes of asthma care through education, data feedback, and sharing of best practices.
Fifty-six physicians participated in 3 cohorts; 594 patients were included in the project. In all cohorts, improvements occurred in the use of asthma action plans (62.4%–76.8% cohort 1, 50.6%–88.4% cohort 2, 53.0%–79.6% cohort 3) and Asthma Control Tests (4.6%–55.2% cohort 1, 9.0%–67.8% cohort 2, 15.2%–61.4% cohort 3). Less consistent improvements were observed in seasonal influenza vaccines, controller medications, and asthma follow-up visits. The proportion of patients experiencing ≥1 asthma exacerbation within the year declined in all 3 cohorts (37.8%–19.9%, P = .0002 cohort 1; 27.8%–20.7%, P = .1 cohort 2; 36.6%–26.9%, P = .1 cohort 3). For each cohort, asthma exacerbations declined to a greater extent than those of a comparison group.
This asthma quality improvement project designed for maintenance of certification improved processes of care among patients with persistent asthma. The learning collaborative approach may be a useful model for other board-recertification quality improvement projects but requires a substantial investment of organizational time and staff.