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Physicians’ approaches to providing asthma education to patients and the level of patient involvement in management decisions


The objectives of this study were to describe physicians' self-reported approaches to providing disease-specific education to adults with asthma in an outpatient setting and their opinions about the level of patient involvement in management decisions. A mailed questionnaire was completed by 163 randomly selected physicians, representing an 80% response rate. The educational actions provided most frequently included information about prescribed medications (90%-100% of physicians), general asthma information (87%-98%), and inhaler demonstration (85%-95%). Educational activities provided least frequently were action plans (7%-74%) and referral to a nonprofit community asthma organization for further information (18%-36%). The reported provision of asthma education was related to patients' asthma severity (p < 0.0001) and physician specialty (p < 0.005). Physicians indicated that their patients were less involved in asthma management decisions than they would prefer (p < 0.001). The results suggest that physicians vary markedly in their approaches to providing asthma education to patients. Future descriptive and intervention studies are needed to identify the most effective models for providing education and patient involvement.



Cicutto LC, Llewellyn-Thomas HA, Geerts WH. J Asthma. 1999; 36(5):427-39.

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