AHSC Collaborative Asthma Task Force Achieves Top National Review
Nov. 19, 2001
Contact: Jean Spinelli or George Humphrey, (520)626-7301
A collaborative effort to improve pediatric asthma treatment at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center (AHSC) in Tucson has been recognized as one of the best in the country by the University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC).
The AHSC multidisciplinary asthma task force includes members of the Arizona Respiratory Center, a Center of Excellence at the UA College of Medicine, the UA Department of Pediatrics and University Medical Center, the teaching hospital of the UA College of Medicine. The asthma task force was established in 1996 as the "Pediatric Asthma Process Improvement Project" to develop clinical protocols for asthma management that comply with National Institutes of Health (NIH) guidelines.
The UHC is an alliance of academic health centers whose goal is to help members improve clinical and operating efficiencies, and influence the direction and delivery of health care. As part of a nationwide Asthma Benchmarking Project, the UHC examined the use of national guidelines in the care of asthma patients in order to develop recommendations for successful application of these guidelines. The UHC clinician coordinating committee set specific clinical indicators of high-quality care and reviewed the pediatric records of 18 participating hospitals across the nation to assess pediatric asthma management performance in relation to those indicators.
The UHC recognized UMC and University of New Mexico Hospital as the top two pediatric asthma care providers among those participating in the review. According to the UHC review, the AHSC asthma task force achieved compliance with national protocols to manage asthma most effectively 100 percent of the time. In addition, the UHC praised the asthma task force's development of a program for asthma educators, called Asthma All Stars, to improve the availability of comprehensive patient education.
"This is a true collaboration among the pulmonologists, nurses and social workers with the Arizona Respiratory Center, UA Department of Pediatrics and UMC," says asthma task force member Mark Brown, MD, Arizona Respiratory Center member and UA associate professor of clinical pediatrics. "Asthma is a chronic and complex disease and appropriate management requires a team approach, including the patient and/or the patient's family."
A recent report by U.S. News & World Report confirms that respiratory care at the Arizona Respiratory Center and UMC is among the best in the nation. UMC was ranked 25th in the nation by U.S. News' annual guide to "America's Best Hospitals."
Known for its research into the causes and modes of development of asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and sleep apnea, the Arizona Respiratory Center combines the highest caliber of research, clinical care and teaching. Headed by world-renowned asthma researcher Fernando Martinez, MD, the internationally known Center brings together experts in immunology, pathology, radiology, internal medicine, pediatrics, pharmacology, epidemiology, molecular genetics, computer science and many other disciplines to attack respiratory disease in children and adults.
Asthma is reaching epidemic levels in children, and one in 10 need to be treated for this debilitating condition. Chronic obstructive lung disease is the fifth-leading cause of death in the U.S. and more than 15 million Americans are affected.