Helping Doctors Provide Personalized Asthma Care – the CHAMPS Project

 

Does your doctor offer a complete, personalized, asthma management plan for treating your asthma?

Many consider personalized medicine the future of health care, and for good reason. As we learn about patients, genetics and diseases, we see that a standard approach is not the best. The purpose of personalized medicine is to provide custom treatment plans for patients. While customized care can help patients, it also adds challenges due to many factors that influence asthma.

Factors include:

  • genetic traits
  • allergies
  • environmental exposures
  • stress
  • socioeconomic conditions
  • access to healthcare

With so many factors, developing a treatment plan can be difficult for health care providers. Personalized care also demands more time to learn about patients and the factors to their disease.

But researchers and health care groups are working to overcome these challenges for asthma patients. One is the Community Healthcare for Asthma Management and Prevention of Symptoms, or CHAMPS, project. This is funded by the Merck Childhood Asthma Network.

The CHAMPS project uses 25 years of National Institutes of Health asthma research. It began with two huge 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. Doctors assessed each patient and collected information about their asthma. Doctors then created a custom care plan delivered by doctors, nurses and asthma counselors.

Both NCICAS and ICAS showed strong results, but would they repeat in the ‘real world’? The design of CHAMPS is to answer this question. Using NCICAS and ICAS as models, CHAMPS researchers set out to fulfill two objectives:

1. Test whether health clinics could incorporate results in the real-world setting

- and, if successful -

2. Provide resources that other health care practices could use to incorporate CHAMPS within their centers

CHAMPS researchers found that health clinics could use the asthma program. All clinics tested had different locations, health care teams, insurance plans and levels of resources. Once the program was successful in the real world, CHAMPS researchers helped other health practices with the program.

The CHAMPS team also released free resources on the Asthma Community Network website. This was in partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Resources include short eLearning videos, educational handouts, research and a detailed instruction manual. These materials are available to the public to try to teach any practice to conduct the CHAMPS asthma program. You can see these resources with the following link: http://www.asthmacommunitynetwork.org/Champs.

What does this mean for people with asthma?

  • Talk to your doctor.
  • Ask about personalized medicine and how you can get a custom treatment plan.
  • Ask your doctor about other asthma management programs.
  • Tell your provider about the CHAMPS program.
  • Learn more about asthma and how you can help manage your symptoms. The AAFA website and Asthma Community Network have many helpful resources for managing your asthma and getting the care you need.
  • Download patient education materials: CHAMPS | AAFA.
  • Locate asthma programs in your area.
  • Join a local support group or contact an AAFA Regional Chapter.
  • Join AAFA’s Advocacy Action Network.



Acknowledgments:
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.

This post was written by Ryan Bailey, MA, a Senior Clinical Researcher at Rho. He has over 10 years of experience conducting multicenter asthma research studies, including the Inner 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 develops novel data visualizations and statistical graphics for use in clinical trials.

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