A Reminder System for Paper-Based Asthma Guidelines in the Pediatric Emergency Department

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT00699439
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : June 18, 2008
Last Update Posted : August 17, 2018
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Brief Summary:

The primary idea is that the use of a computerized reminder system to help with the guideline implementation will increase utilization and adherence of guideline-driven care, leading to improved patient outcomes. The hypothesis we aim to address is that an automatic, computerized reminder system for detecting asthma patients in the pediatric ED will increase paper-based guideline utilization compared to paper-based guideline without the system.

We aim to implement a real-time, computerized asthma detection system and integrate the system with the pediatric emergency department information system, and evaluate the effect of the asthma detection system on reminding clinicians to use the paper-based asthma guideline.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Asthma Medical Informatics Other: Paper-based asthma flow diagram Not Applicable

Detailed Description:

Asthma is the leading chronic childhood disease affecting 9 million children (12.5%) under 18 years of age (1). Asthma exacerbations cause an estimated 14 million missed school days (2) and more than 1.8 million emergency department (ED) visits annually (2), and account for >60% of asthma-related costs (3). The chronic characteristic of asthma carries a considerable economic burden.

Uncontrolled asthma can lead to exacerbations requiring the patient to seek immediate care, frequently in an ED setting. Several asthma guidelines, including the nationally accepted guideline from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), exist to support clinicians in providing adequate treatment. Utilization of and adherence with asthma guidelines improves patients' clinical care (4, 5). However, guideline adherence remains suboptimal. In the ED, early recognition and accurate assessment of the severity of airway obstruction and response to therapy are fundamental to the improvement of health for patients with asthma. The NHLBI guidelines emphasize early recognition and treatment of asthma exacerbations, as well as appropriate treatment stratified by severity.

Computer applications for patient care can address barriers to optimal medical care. Computer systems have improved the use and adherence to practice guidelines, provide clinical alerts and reminders, and generate patient-specific treatment recommendations and educational material. Implementation of guideline-driven decision support is frequently paper-based or computerized. In either form a major barrier remains on the busy clinicians to remember to initiate the guideline a process and to embed the guideline tasks in the clinical workflow of the care team (5). The proposed study examines the benefits of a novel approach for reminding clinicians in an ED setting to use guideline-driven care. The approach will apply a workflow-embedded process taking advantage of an advanced information technology infrastructure. The informatics approach will include two elements: a) a computerized, real-time reminder system, which will automatically detect guideline-eligible patients without requiring additional data entry, and b) a computerized, workflow-embedded guideline implementation.


  1. Ref: QuickStats: Percentage of Children Aged <18 years Who Have Ever Had Asthma Diagnosed, by Age Group --- United States, 2003; MMWR April 29, 2005 / 54(16);412.
  2. Allergy & Asthma Advocate. Quarterly patient newsletter of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and immunology. 2004.
  3. Grimshaw JM, Eccles MP, Walker AE, Thomas RE. Changing physicians' behavior: what works and thoughts on getting more things to work. J Contin Educ Health Prof. 2002;22:237-243.
  4. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Asthma Education and Prevention Program. Expert Panel Report 2: Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of asthma. 1997.
  5. Scribano PV, Lerer T, Kennedy D, Cloutier MM. Provider adherence to a clinical practice guideline for acute asthma in a pediatric emergency department. Acad Emerg Med. 2001;8:1147-1152.

Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 1102 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Health Services Research
Official Title: A Reminder System for Paper-Based Asthma Guidelines in the Pediatric Emergency Department
Study Start Date : July 2009
Actual Primary Completion Date : June 2015
Actual Study Completion Date : June 2015

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

MedlinePlus related topics: Asthma

Arm Intervention/treatment
Active Comparator: A
If a patient is identified as having an asthma exacerbation by the Bayesian Network, the paper-based flow-chart will be printed out to place on the chart.
Other: Paper-based asthma flow diagram
If a patient is identified as having an asthma exacerbation by the Bayesian Network, the patients will be randomized to either arm A or B. If in A, the paper-based flow-chart will be printed out to place on the chart.

No Intervention: B
If a patient is identified as having an asthma exacerbation by the Bayesian Network, and assigned to the control group, no flow-chart will be printed out.

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Guideline utilization. Guideline utilization will be defined as having used the guideline for the documentation of at least one assessment (asthma score). [ Time Frame: Within 1 week after visit ]
  2. Guideline Adherence. The measurement of guideline adherence includes three measures: a) asthma assessment (score); b) treatment compatible with assessment (or documentation of reason to deviate); and c) adherence to guideline schedule. [ Time Frame: Within 1 week after visit ]

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   2 Years to 18 Years   (Child, Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria:

The study's inclusion criteria are:

  • All patients aged 2-18 years;
  • Emergency Severity Index 2 to 5; AND
  • Availability of completed computerized triage documentation.

Exclusion Criteria:

The exclusion criteria are:

  • Critically ill patients (Emergency Severity Index 1)
  • Patients who leave-without-being seen
  • Patients who leave against-medical-advice
  • Patients whose final diagnosis was not asthma (false positive identification by the detection system) or were determined not to be eligible for the guideline.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT00699439

United States, Tennessee
Vanderbilt University
Nashville, Tennessee, United States, 37232
Sponsors and Collaborators
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Principal Investigator: Judith W Dexheimer, MS Vanderbilt University
Principal Investigator: Dominik Aronsky, MD, PhD Vanderbilt University
Study Chair: Donald H Arnold, MD, MPH Vanderbilt University

Responsible Party: Vanderbilt University Medical Center Identifier: NCT00699439     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 070206
First Posted: June 18, 2008    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: August 17, 2018
Last Verified: August 2018

Keywords provided by Vanderbilt University Medical Center:
Medical Informatics
Emergency Service, Hospital
Bayesian Method

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Bronchial Diseases
Respiratory Tract Diseases
Lung Diseases, Obstructive
Lung Diseases
Respiratory Hypersensitivity
Hypersensitivity, Immediate
Immune System Diseases
Disease Attributes
Pathologic Processes