About the Project
Moving the Dial on Diagnosis and Treatment of Asthma examines the barriers and challenges a patient faces throughout their journey with asthma. Along the way, many gaps and challenges can arise regarding how and when they are diagnosed and treated. This study will help The Lung Association and others shape an environment that will better support more effective and timely diagnosis and treatment and provide a strong base for education, awareness and advocacy efforts.
To improve the lives of the millions of Canadians with asthma, it is imperative to increase access to diagnosis, treatment, support and education along each step of their journey. This starts when their first symptoms appear, for example, with access to a family physician to investigate and make a proper diagnosis. Spirometry testing—considered the gold standard in diagnosis by the Canadian Thoracic Society—enables accurate diagnosis, which is necessary for appropriate treatment. The access and availability of treatments, including respiratory biologics, all influence whether patients will be able to live full, active lives. Education—of patients and healthcare providers—regarding appropriate use of medications and devices, as well as patient management tools such as asthma action plans, will ensure Canadians with asthma are equipped to manage their disease and decrease healthcare costs and pressures.
The path to this ideal picture involves increasing access to accredited, high quality spirometry testing, including education for test providers and those interpreting the results, as well as regulations for testing sites. Better education is also needed to help patients and physicians understand asthma control. Patients need to know how to control their asthma, including understanding the type of asthma they have and ensuring they are on the right management plan.
The use of asthma action plans has been shown to result in behaviours that improve asthma control and increase patient self-advocacy. Educating healthcare providers and patients about the benefits of an asthma action plan and how to use this tool could help improve asthma control and patient quality of life, save healthcare costs and lead to patients feeling more empowered in managing their disease.
These facets can lead to correct treatment for all people living with asthma. Asthma is not the same for all patients and one type of treatment does not fit all. Proper diagnosis, followed by education of patients and healthcare providers will lead to individualized, effective treatment.
“Our Moving the Dial report shows that Canadians are struggling to manage a disease that is prevalent in our country,” says Terry Dean, President and CEO, Canadian Lung Association. “Patients need to know they don’t have to stop being active to accommodate their asthma. We have developed an asthma action plan that helps start important conversations between patients and healthcare professionals. Having an action plan in place increases the likelihood of taking medications as prescribed and improves overall management of asthma.”
This project was made possible by funding support from AstraZeneca Canada