A study presented at the virtual 2020 ERS Congress demonstrated “an automatic, electronic alert on general practitioners’ computer screens can help prevent excessive prescribing of short-acting beta2-agonist (SABA) inhalers.” The most important finding was the small but potentially clinically significant reduction in SABA prescribing in the 12 months after the alert. Combined with other results, this suggests the alert prompts a review of patients who may have poor asthma control.
“Excessive SABA use is only one indicator for poor asthma control but the risks are not well understood by patients and are often overlooked by healthcare professionals,” said the lead investigator. According to the ERS article, “the study’s findings are now being used to support and inform a three-year program that provides general practices with EMIS IT tools to support the identification of patients with high-risk asthma. This includes an electronic alert for excessive SABA prescribing and an asthma prescribing tool to identify patients with poor asthma control who may be at risk of hospital admission.”