Asthma cost report highlights persisting issues


25 Nov 2015

A report on the cost of asthma in Australia has highlighted persisting issues around the diagnosis and management of the disease.

The Hidden Costs of Asthma report revealed the disease is costing Australia almost $28 billion a year, with the majority of the cost attributed to disability and premature death.

Direct healthcare costs totalled $1.2 billion, according to the report published by Deloitte Access Economics and commissioned by Asthma Australia (AA) in partnership with the National Asthma Council Australia (NAC).

However the report also highlighted several persisting concerns around the diagnosis and management of asthma in Australia that were not dissimilar to those raised as part of the National Asthma Strategy.

In a consultation with stakeholders involved with asthma in Australia concerns over the misdiagnosis of asthma and the impact of appropriate treatment were a recurring issue, with a number of stakeholders attributing misdiagnosis to low spirometer use in general practice.

“It is recommended that improvements in diagnosis of asthma through greater uptake of spirometry in general practice be considered as one of the priorities of future asthma funding,” the report stated.

A number of stakeholders also expressed their concerns that while clinical care guidelines regarding asthma management in Australia had been expertly developed, anecdotal evidence suggested minimal adherence in actual practice.

The report recommended that further initiatives to improve awareness and adherence to clinical care guidelines be undertaken. An analysis of the findings from the PIP may also provide greater insight into the incentives behind guideline adherence and clinical behaviour, the report stated.

A greater involvement for pharmacists in asthma management and improved approaches to asthma interventions and care were also recommended.

To read the full report click here.

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