ARTICLE

Asthma Programme in Finland: Comparison of adult asthma referral letters in 1994 and 2001.

Respir Med. 2006 Aug 3; Tuomisto LE, Kaila M, Erhola M. Seinajoki Central Hospital, Hanneksenrinne 7, 60220 Seinajoki, Finland.

OBJECTIVES: The aim of the study was to evaluate the quality of asthma-related referral letters at the launch of the Asthma Programme in 1994 and 7 years later in 2001.

METHODS: All referrals during 1 year (n=1121 in 1994, n=1136 in 2001) to one pulmonary department were screened in 2001. By the same inclusion criteria of asthma or suspicion of asthma, 624 letters (56% of all) from the year 1994 and 452 (40% of all) from the year 2001 were selected. The quality of study letters was assessed against the previously developed asthma referral letter criteria. Comparison of the referral letter quality in 1994 and 2001 was made.

RESULTS: The proportion of poor letters decreased from 63% in 1994 to 44% in 2001, while that of good letters increased from 7% to 22%. Graphics of peak flow follow-up measurements (14% vs. 40%) and spirometry with bronchodilatation test (5% vs. 32%) were included significantly more often as an attachment.

CONCLUSION: Lung functions are being measured more often in primary care, indication a more active detection of asthma. The number of asthma-related referrals in relation to all pulmonary consultation referrals decreased and their quality improved during the years of the Asthma Programme.

 

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