Background: Studies examining the influence of provider behavior and patterns of care delivery on the use of anti-inflammatory asthma therapy have been limited to selected populations or have been unable to assess the appropriateness of therapy for individuals. We have previously reported the influence of sociodemographic variables and asthma severity on reported use of asthma medications in the United States. Objective: We sought to examine the influence of patterns of care delivery and clinician behavioral factors on the use of anti-inflammatory medication by patients with asthma. Methods: We performed a cross-sectional national random digit dial household telephone survey in 1998 of adult patients and parents of children with current asthma. Respondents were classified as having current asthma if they had a physician's diagnosis of asthma and were either taking medication for asthma or had asthma symptoms during the past year. Results: One or more persons met the study criteria for current asthma in 3273 (7.8%) households in which a screening questionnaire was completed. Of the 2509 persons (721 children <16 years of age) with current asthma interviewed, 507 (20.1%) reported current use of anti-inflammatory medication. In a multiple logistic regression model controlling for asthma symptoms, reported anti-inflammatory use was significantly associated with patients reporting their physician having an excellent ability to explain asthma management (odds ratio [OR], 1.47; 95% CI, 1.09-1.98), scheduling regular visits to a physician for asthma (OR, 1.30; 95% CI, 1.02-1.64), having a written asthma action plan (OR, 1.63; 95% CI, 1.29-2.06), and being of white, non-Hispanic ethnicity (OR, 1.53; 95% CI, 1.19-1.98), along with markers of greater asthma morbidity, missing 6 or more days from work or school in the past year (OR, 1.29; 95% CI, 1.01-1.65), and hospitalization for asthma in the past year (OR, 1.74; 95% CI, 1.19-2.53). Anti-inflammatory use was less likely to be reported with younger age (OR, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.73-0.94), lower long-term asthma symptom burden (OR, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.71-0.94), use of 4 or fewer reliever inhaler canisters in the past year (OR, 0.50; 95% CI, 0.43-0.58), and smoking (OR, 0.50; 95% CI, 0.37-0.68). Conclusion: How asthma care is delivered influences the use of anti-inflammatory medication. Strategies to increase regular evaluation by a physician interested in asthma, particularly for minority patients, and to increase a physician's ability to communicate asthma management to patients might improve use of anti-inflammatory therapy among patients with asthma.
- population survey
- asthma medication
- Quality of care
- physician-patient communication