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Optimizing Care for Asthma Patients

November 21, 2019

To: PCPs, Allergists, Pulmonologists

As we head into another Western New York winter, cold air has the potential to induce symptoms in asthma patients.

An estimated 30,000 BlueCross BlueShield members have asthma, and exacerbations continue to rise yearly. Helping your patients understand common asthma symptoms and their triggers can be critical.

Asthma Triggers

Our claims data confirms that Air Quality Index is the strongest predictor of asthma symptom triggers. Other factors such as wind, humidity, decreasing temperatures, and pollen can also impact triggers. When patients know their triggers, they can try to avoid them, and better control their symptoms.

Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) share many similar signs and symptoms, including coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.  But these two diagnoses require separate treatment paths and medications. Ordering a spirometry test is the best way of differentiating between the two.

What You Should Do

There are a number of ways you can help your patients better control their asthma symptoms, and prevent exacerbations:

  • Perform a Spirometry Test – Diagnose asthma and/or COPD, so you can create a proper treatment plan
  • Discuss Triggers – Discuss management of triggers (including how to minimize exposure to them and what to do if they are exposed) with your patients so they are prepared
  • Provide an Asthma Action Plan - This sheet will help patients follow a thorough treatment plan and know when to call your office or seek care to prevent symptoms from worsening
  • Reinforce Medication Adherence – Talk to patients about the importance of regularly using their medications as prescribed, and educate on proper inhaler technique
  • Let us help – Our nurses, case managers, and respiratory therapist can support your care plan by providing patients with the education, tools and resources necessary to assist them in controlling their symptoms and improving their quality of life

For more information on asthma care and resources, click on the links below:

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