• Referral Patterns to Pediatric Pulmonology for Asthma-like Symptoms

      Prynn, Tory; The University of Arizona College of Medicine - Phoenix; Drewek, Rupali (The University of Arizona., 2021)
      Objective: This study aimed to characterize referrals for asthma-like symptoms to a pediatric pulmonology clinic, evaluate consult interventions, and identify opportunities for improving access. Methods: A retrospective chart review examined patients ages 5-18 years, referred to the pulmonology clinic at Phoenix Children’s Hospital between July 2016 and July 2019. Descriptive statistics summarized demographics, prior asthma diagnosis, ICS use and compliance, reason for referral and intervention during consult. An appropriate referral was defined as prior asthma and ICS Step 3. Results: The total 171 study subjects had mean (standard deviation) age of 9.4 (3.8) years, with 100 (58%) males, and prior asthma diagnosis in 105 (61%). The most common reason for pulmonology referral was asthma in 90 (53%) patients, of which 70 (78% of 90) had prior asthma. Among 105 patients with asthma, 79 (76%) had a history of ICS, with 33 (42% of 79) patients reporting spacer compliance issues. The rate of appropriate referrals was 0.11 (95% confidence interval: 0.06-0.16). During the pulmonology consult, nearly half 10 (53%) of 19 patients appropriately referred received an ICS step up. Among 151 inappropriate referrals, ICS was initiated for 91 (60%) and increased for 45 (30%). Education was provided to all patients during pulmonology consult. Conclusions: Mild-to-moderate asthma can be effectively treated by primary care providers (PCPs) with implementation of ICS, thus prioritizing healthcare resource utilization by enabling the pulmonologist to see higher acuity patients sooner. Further study is warranted to identify strategies and tools for PCPs to optimize asthma management.