J Korean Med Sci.  2020 Mar;35(12):e72. 10.3346/jkms.2020.35.e72.

Implementation of Asthma Management Guidelines and Possible Barriers in Korea

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Pusan National University School of Medicine, Busan, Korea.
  • 2Department of Internal Medicine, Busan Paik Hospital, Inje University College of Medicine, Busan, Korea.
  • 3Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. addchang@snu.ac.kr
  • 4Institute of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Seoul National University Medical Research Center, Seoul, Korea.
  • 5Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seongnam, Korea.
  • 6Department of Internal Medicine, Chosun University Medical School, Gwangju, Korea.

Abstract

BACKGROUND
There could be a gap between asthma management guidelines and current practice. We evaluated the awareness of and compliance with asthma management guidelines, and the internal and external barriers to compliance, for the first time in Korea.
METHODS
From March to September of 2012, 364 physicians treating asthma patients at primary, secondary, and tertiary teaching hospitals were enrolled. They completed a questionnaire on the awareness of and compliance with asthma management guidelines, and the barriers and alternatives to their implementation.
RESULTS
Of the 364 physicians, 79.1% were men and 56.9% were primary care physicians. The mean age was 40.5 ± 11.2 years. Most of them were aware of asthma management guidelines (89.3%). However, only a portion (11.0%) of them complied with the guidelines for asthma. Pulmonary function tests for diagnosis of asthma were performed by 20.1% of all physicians and 9.2% of primary care physicians, and by 9.9% of all physicians and 5.8% of primary care physicians for monitoring. Physicians stated that "˜asthma monitoring' was the most difficult part of the guidelines, followed by "˜environmental control and risk factors.' Only 39.6% (31.9% of the primary care physicians) prescribed an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) as the first-line treatment for persistent asthma. The internal barriers were physician's preference for oral medications, difficulty in use even with inhaler training, and concern over ICS side effects. The external barriers were possible rejection of medical reimbursement by health insurance, refusal by the patient, cost, and a poor environment for teaching the patient how to use the inhaler. Alternatives proposed by physicians to implement asthma management guidelines were to improve medical reimbursement policies and the level of awareness of such guidelines.
CONCLUSION
Compliance with the asthma management guidelines, including ICS prescription, is low despite the awareness of the guidelines. It is necessary to develop a strategy to overcome the internal and external barriers.

Keyword

Inhaled Corticosteroid; Barrier; Implementation; Guidelines; Asthma

MeSH Terms

Asthma*
Compliance
Diagnosis
Hospitals, Teaching
Humans
Insurance, Health
Korea*
Male
Nebulizers and Vaporizers
Physicians, Primary Care
Prescriptions
Primary Health Care
Respiratory Function Tests
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