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AAP's online interactive educational program teaches asthma management. (eQipp Yourself).

BOSTON -- An on-line learning resource can help pediatricians who want to improve or standardize care for their asthma patients, Dr. Carol Lannon said at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Education in Quality Improvement for Pediatric Practice (eQIPP) is an educational program developed by the academy to help practitioners improve pediatric care. The first eQIPP learning module--which addresses asthma--not only helps pediatricians examine their asthma management practices and identify areas of challenge, but provides practical and effective tools to meet those challenges, tools that are easy to learn and easy to implement in the office setting, said Dr. Lannon of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and medical editor of eQIPP.

"This is something practical that will really help pediatricians, patients, and families," she added.

The program, which can be completed in 3 months, begins with a chart review. Based on that data, it gives immediate feedback on how a pediatrician's asthma management stacks up against recognized guidelines.

The chart review identifies areas of weakness and suggests a goal for improving those areas. But in addition to just identifying gaps in care, the program suggests possible reasons for those gaps, gives ideas for removing those barriers, and finally, provides the pediatrician with tools to overcome them.

"The idea is not to say 'You're doing it wrong, but to help you choose the areas where you want to improve and give you the support, the tools, and the resources you need to do it," Dr. Lannon said in an interview.

Suppose, for example, a review of 10 asthma charts indicates that asthma severity is not routinely classified and documented. eQIPP's suggested goal would be to classify and document severity on the chart in 95% of asthmatic patients.

The program would suggest that there could be a couple of reasons for the gap: either the pediatrician is not comfortable with classifying severity or the pediatrician needs some practical tools to put a classification system into place.

If comfort in classifying is the problem, the program contains a review of asthma classification and examples the pediatrician can peruse to gain more understanding of the concept. If logistics are the problem, the program contains helpful tools, such as an easy-to-administer parent survey.

If patients are not consistently getting an asthma management plan, the program provides a preprinted plan that can be easily individualized for each child.

The problem may be just a lack of organization. Doctors are working so hard every day just to keep up with their calls and visits. "We haven't really learned about how to put organizational skills to work in the office, and this program can really help in that area," Dr. Lannon added.

After practice improvements are put into action, the program guides pediatricians through a second chart review so they can track their progress and, if necessary, identify new goals to provide even better care for patients.

The learning modules include seminars and activities that help expand knowledge of asthma epidemiology and pathogenesis, diagnosis, severity classification, medications, and management and follow-up plans.

Learners have access to a combination of online and off-line activities, including case studies, scheduled chat-room time with colleagues, links to pertinent journal articles, and interactive access to experts in the asthma field.

The eQIPP program qualifies participants for up to 20 hours of category 1 CME credit, Dr. Lannon said. Academy members pay $149 for 3 months of access to the eQIPP module; if two or more members in the same practice participate, the cost is $129 each. Nonmembers pay $189, or $169 each for two or more doctors in the same office.

In the future, similar modules will address other conditions for which the academy has developed clinical practice guidelines, including acute sinusitis, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and hyperbilirubinemia.

For a virtual tour of the eQIPP asthma education program online, visit www.eqipp.org.
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Title Annotation:American Academy of Pediatrics
Author:Sullivan, Michele G.
Publication:Pediatric News
Date:Jan 1, 2003
Words:644
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