A multi-stakeholder perspective on asthma care in Canada: findings from a mixed methods needs assessment in the treatment and management of asthma in adults
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Background: Although several aspects of asthma care have been identified as being sub-optimal in Canada, such as patient education, practice guideline adoption, and access to care, there remains a need to determine the extent to which these gaps remain, so as to investigate their underlying causes, and potential solutions. Methods: An ethics-approved mixed methods educational needs assessment was conducted in four Canadian provinces (Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec), combining a qualitative phase (45-min semi-structured interviews with community-based healthcare providers and key stakeholders) and a quantitative phase (15-min survey, healthcare providers only). Results: A total of 234 participants were included in the study, 44 in semi-structured interviews and 190 in the online survey. Five clinical areas were reported to be suboptimal by multiple categories of participants, and specific causes were identified for each. These areas included: Integration of guidelines into clinical practice, use of spirometry, individualisation of asthma devices to patient needs, emphasis on patient adherence and self-management, and clarity regarding roles and responsibilities of different members of the asthma healthcare team. Common causes for gaps in all these areas included suboptimal knowledge amongst healthcare providers, differing perceptions on the importance of certain interventions, and inadequate communication between healthcare providers. Conclusions: This study provides a better understanding of the specific causes underlying common gaps and challenges in asthma care in Canada. This information can inform future continuing medical education, and help providers in community settings obtain access to adequate materials, resources, and training to support optimal care of adult patients with asthma.
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