"Expert Panel Report 3 (EPR-3): Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma" includes guidelines for referral to an asthma specialist. Because most cases of asthma are managed by primary care physicians, we intended to explore the referral practices of pediatricians managing childhood asthma. This study was designed to identify important considerations by pediatricians while referring a child to an asthma specialist. An electronic survey was sent to 1200 graduated pediatricians enlisted in the Michigan Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics directory. The questions explored asthma disease characteristics, physician preferences when referring children with asthma, and reasons and barriers for asthma consultations. All responses were collected anonymously. We received 240/1200 (20%) questionnaires. The majority of pediatricians considered referral to a specialist if a child had severe persistent asthma (201/236 [85.2%]) or had a single life-threatening asthma event (188/229 [82.1%]). The top two likely reasons of referral included poor asthma control (200/224 [89.3%]) and unclear diagnosis (139/224 [62.1%]). We found 74/219 (33.8%) preferred consultation to a pediatric pulmonologist when compared with 93/219 (42.5%) allergists. We found the minority of pediatricians "always" recommended referral to a specialist for the following reasons: allergy skin testing (30/222 [13.5%]), possible allergen immunotherapy (54/223 [24.2%]), and spirometry (26/221 [11.8%]). The major barrier for childhood asthma specialist consultations was issues with medical insurance coverage (137/205 [66.8%]). Allergists have to educate primary care providers about the importance of allergen control, role of allergen immunotherapy, and updating current asthma treatment guidelines when treating a child with allergic asthma.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine