Nearly 1 in 10 children have asthma, according to government statistics, and in low-income parts of Boston, nearly 16 percent of children are affected. A program called the Community Asthma Initiative (CAI), developed and implemented in 2005 by clinicians at Children's Hospital Boston, demonstrates the potential to dramatically reduce hospitalization and emergency department visits for asthma -- improving patient outcomes and saving $1.46 per dollar spent through reduced hospital utilization.
A study reporting these outcomes and cost savings appears in the March 2012 Pediatrics (published online February 20).
The CAI is a community-based asthma care model targeting low-income families. It includes nurse case management and care coordination combined with home visits by a bilingual nurse or Community Health Worker to educate families about asthma, assess the home for asthma triggers, and provide materials and services to improve the home environment, such as encasements for bedding, HEPA vacuums and pest control.
The CAI team, led by Elizabeth Woods, MD, MPH, of the Division of Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine, and Shari Nethersole, MD, of the Office of Child Advocacy at Children's Hospital Boston, selected children from four low-income zip codes for the intervention because they had been hospitalized or had made emergency department (ED) visits for asthma. Of 562 eligible children identified, 283 families agreed to participate.
At enrollment, 43 percent of participating children had asthma scored as moderate or severe. Families received an average of 1.2 home visits during the year-long program. "The environmental issues have been much greater than expected, with high rates of pest infestation and dust and mold problems," Woods notes.
After 12 months in the program, the children had a 68 percent decrease from baseline in asthma-related ED visits and an 85 percent drop in hospitalizations. There was a 43 percent reduction in the percentage of children who had to limit physical activity on any day, a 41 percent reduction in reports of missed school days and a 50 percent reduction in parents having to miss work to care for their child. The percentage of children with an up-to-date asthma care plan rose from 53 percent at baseline to 82 percent at 12 months.
All of these improvements were evident within 6 months, and, among children who had follow-up, persisted for as long as two years.
The quality improvement intervention yielded a significant return on investment: When CAI patients were compared with nonparticipating children from four demographically similar communities, the CAI saved $1.46 for every dollar spent. The program cost $2,529 per child, but yielded a savings of $3,827 per child because of reduced ED visits and hospitalizations. "This is a remarkable savings to society and reflects better health outcomes for the children," says Woods.
"Our experience with CAI allowed us to work with community partners to develop a business case for reimbursement of these services by insurers," adds Nethersole.
The CAI has started working with Massachusetts Medicaid and other health care payers to develop and pilot a global or bundled payment system for asthma care. "We expect that the new payment models will incorporate these expanded education and home-visiting services and allow for more comprehensive care for children with high-risk asthma," says Nethersole.
The study was limited due to the lack of insurance data, and was unable to capture data on care at other hospitals, primary care sites and pharmacy claims. The authors believe their analysis underestimated the true cost savings, because it did not include physician fees or financial impacts on families. They suggest that further cost analyses incorporate insurance company data to capture other aspects of care.
The study was funded by a REACH US grant from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Healthy Tomorrows from the Health Resources and Services Administration and the Ludcke, BJ's, Covidien and Thoracic Foundations.
Children's Hospital Boston is home to the world's largest research enterprise based at a pediatric medical center, where its discoveries have benefited both children and adults since 1869. More than 1,100 scientists, including nine members of the National Academy of Sciences, 11 members of the Institute of Medicine and nine members of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute comprise Children's research community. Founded as a 20-bed hospital for children, Children's Hospital Boston today is a 395 bed comprehensive center for pediatric and adolescent health care grounded in the values of excellence in patient care and sensitivity to the complex needs and diversity of children and families. Children's also is the primary pediatric teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. For more information about research and clinical innovation at Children's, visit: http://vectorblog.org
Colleen Connolly | EurekAlert!
23.03.2017 | Technische Universität München
How prenatal maternal infections may affect genetic factors in Autism spectrum disorder
22.03.2017 | University of California - San Diego
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
23.03.2017 | Life Sciences
23.03.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
23.03.2017 | Earth Sciences