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Open Access Research article

How much do health care providers value a community-based asthma care program? – a survey to collect their opinions on the utilities of and barriers to its uptake

Teresa To123*, Susan McLimont1, Chengning Wang1 and Lisa Cicutto3

Author Affiliations

1 Child Health Evaluative Sciences, Research Institute, The Hospital for Sick Children, 555 University Ave, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

2 The Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, G1-06-2075 Bayview Ave, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

3 The University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

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BMC Health Services Research 2009, 9:77  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-9-77

Published: 11 May 2009

Abstract

Background

A comprehensive asthma care program (ACP) based on Canadian Asthma Consensus Guidelines was implemented in 8 primary care sites in Ontario, Canada. A survey was distributed to health care providers' (HCPs) to collect their opinions on the utilities of and barriers to the uptake of the ACP.

Methods

A 39-item self-administered survey was mailed to 184 HCPs and support staff involved in delivering the ACP at the end of implementation. The items were presented in mixed formats with most items requiring responses on a five-point Likert scale. Distributions of responses were analyzed and compared across types of HCPs and sites.

Results

Of the 184 surveys distributed, 108 (59%) were returned, and of that, 83 were completed by HCPs who had clinical contact with the patients. Overall, 95% of the HCPs considered the ACP useful for improving asthma care management. Most HCPs favored using the asthma care map (72%), believed it decreased uncertainties and variations in patient management (91%), and considered it a convenient and reliable source of information (86%). The most commonly reported barrier was time required to complete the asthma care map. Over half of the HCPs reported challenges to using spirometry, while almost 40% identified barriers to using the asthma action plan.

Conclusion

Contrary to the notion that physicians believe that guidelines foster cookbook medicine, our study showed that HCPs believed that the ACP offered an effective and reliable approach for enhancing asthma care and management in primary care.