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Helping Physicians Provide Personalized Asthma Care – the CHAMPS Project

Posted by Brook White on Tue, Aug 09, 2016 @ 02:02 PM


Ryan2.jpgRyan Bailey, MA is a Senior Clinical Researcher at Rho.  He has over 10 years of experience conducting multicenter asthma research studies, including theInner City Asthma Consortium (ICAC) and the Community Healthcare for Asthma Management and Prevention of Symptoms (CHAMPS) project. Ryan also coordinates Rho’s Center for Applied Data Visualization, which developsnovel data visualizations and statistical graphics for use in clinical trials.

Does your healthcare provider offer a comprehensive, personalized, asthma management plan for treating your asthma?

Personalized medicine is considered the future of healthcare, and for good reason. The more we learn about patients, genetics, and diseases, the more we realize that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to healthcare is not the best way forward. Personalized medicine, by contrast, is designed to provide a treatment plan that is customized to each patient.

respiratory.pngWhile this approach offers tremendous promise for patients, it also poses a number of challenges for doctors who treat complex, multi-faceted diseases like asthma. Asthma can be influenced by a wide range of factors, including: genetic traits, allergen sensitivities, environmental exposures, stress, socioeconomic conditions, and access to healthcare. With so many variables to consider, developing a patient-tailored treatment can be daunting for healthcare providers. Personalized care can also require more time – time to learn about each patient and the various factors contributing to their disease, and time to administer a comprehensive care plan.

Fortunately, research and advocacy programs are seeking to overcome these challenges for patients with asthma. One such program is the Community Healthcare for Asthma Management and Prevention of Symptoms or "CHAMPS" project, funded by the Merck Childhood Asthma Network.

The CHAMPS project was based on 25 years of National Institutes of Health asthma research that began with two landmark clinical trials – the National Cooperative Inner City Asthma Study (NCICAS) and the Inner City Asthma Study (ICAS). NCICAS and ICAS focused on providing patient-tailored asthma care using a team-based approach. Each patient was assessed by physicians and information was collected about their asthma. This information was used to create a personalized care plan, which was delivered by a team of healthcare providers and specially-trained asthma counselors.

Both NCICAS and ICAS demonstrated strong results for their patient-tailored asthma interventions, but one important question remained – could these results be repeated in the ‘real world’? CHAMPS was designed to answer this question. Using NCICAS and ICAS as models, CHAMPS researchers set out to fulfill two objectives:

  1. test whether the clinical trial interventions could be implemented in the real world setting of health clinics, and, if successful
  2. provide resources that other health practices could use to implement CHAMPS within their centers

In the first asthma study of its kind, CHAMPS researchers found that health clinics in three different states, with different healthcare teams, insurance plans, and levels of resources were capable of successfully implementing CHAMPS’ cost-effective, patient-tailored asthma program. Once they determined that the program was successful in real world settings, CHAMPS researchers turned their attention toward helping other health practices implement the program.

In partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency, the CHAMPS team released a series of freely-available resources on the Asthma Community Network website, including short eLearning videos, educational handouts, research, and a detailed procedural manual. These CHAMPS materials are designed to teach any health practice how to conduct the CHAMPS asthma program, and are available to the public at http://www.asthmacommunitynetwork.org/Champs.
What does this mean for asthma sufferers?  

The CHAMPS project was supported by The Merck Childhood Asthma Network, Inc. and coordinated by researchers at George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health and Rho, Inc. Additional support was provided by the RCHN Community Health Foundation.