As the world adjusts to a new paradigm, and with the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic still unclear, it is essential that we maintain focus on the people we serve. There has perhaps never been a more important time to ensure that people living with severe asthma receive the best care possible. These patients may be at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19.1,2 In addition, hospitalisations and emergency room visits caused by uncontrolled asthma can increase a patient's chance of contracting the disease.
PRECISION is a long-term initiative aimed at ensuring that all people living with severe asthma have timely access to specialist care and appropriate disease management. Funded by AstraZeneca with objectives determined by external experts in the respiratory community across clinical practice, patient advocacy groups and scientific societies, PRECISION’s collaborative, patient-centric approach is vital to achieving transformational and sustainable change, now more than ever.
Severe asthma affects approximately 34 million people worldwide – up to 10% of the total asthma population.3,4 It is a distinct form of asthma that can seriously impact patients’ lives. The condition can mean a life of frequent, severe attacks with reduced lung function and a poor quality of life.5,6
There are significant challenges to severe asthma care, with multiple gaps in systems, patient pathways and behaviours. The understanding of how to recognise, diagnose and treat severe asthma is still heterogenous or limited, which can result in patients spending years in primary care without getting referred to a specialist and receiving appropriate treatment. When patients do get referred, capacity can be limited, causing people living with suspected severe asthma to wait for several years before being referred to a specialist.5 Severe asthma care is also often not a high priority for funding and change by healthcare systems and policymakers despite the clear burden of disease and poor patient outcomes in many regions across the globe.
Redefining severe asthma care
PRECISION addresses specific gaps and barriers across the care journey, aimed at achieving its ultimate ambition of ensuring that all people living with severe asthma have timely access to specialist care and appropriate disease management.
PRECISION is driven by an external network of more than 500 active global and national experts working to make transformational and sustainable change to the lives of people with severe asthma by:
Accelerating Appropriate Referrals through digital solutions, education and consensus on referral criteria to reduce wait times
Building Capability and Capacity – Ensure patients have the availability of those who care for, diagnose and treat patients and the healthcare infrastructures needed to deliver the treatments available today
Improving Access – Work with advocates to ensure patients have access to appropriate care, with the support and the funding needed from healthcare policymakers and payers.
Empowering Patients – Help people with severe asthma to better understand their condition and seek improved care
What has PRECISION achieved so far?
PRECISION is making important progress across the world, through the pilot and scale-up of dynamic new models and approaches to care:
- Utilising digital technologies to introduce tools and alerts to identify suspected severe asthma and improve practice-changing evidence generation initiatives
- Facilitating referral networks and auto-referral systems to transform the patient journey
- Developing BREATHLESS, the Story of Life with Severe Asthma, a documentary uncovering the lives of people with severe asthma
- Delivering innovative software applications (e.g. ‘chatbots’) that help patients better understand their disease.
In addition, momentum continues to build around the cause of severe asthma care worldwide, with governments in 8 countries already taking important steps to adopt or implement reforms.
Together, this ambitious approach is already starting to make a difference for patients around the world and we have already begun to see a series of early, important public policy reforms which suggest that this community is winning the argument for care improvement
As we continue to adjust to the changing landscape, it’s crucial that we maintain momentum around this vital work to improve care for people with severe asthma. With the continued partnership of committed severe asthma advocates, robust data generation and a clear focus on the needs of people with severe asthma, we know can turn this important work into a sustainable change.
To learn more, visit www.breathlessdocumentary.com.
1. Centers for Disease Control, COVID-19: People with asthma, April 2020. Available online here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/asthma.html
2. NICE. COVID-19 rapid guideline: severe asthma. April 2020 Available online at: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng166
3. Wenzel S. Severe asthma in Adults. Am J Respir Crit Care med 2005. 172, 149-60
4. The Global Asthma Network. The Global Asthma Report 2018. Available at: http://www.globalasthmanetwork.org/publications/Global_Asthma_Report_2018.pdf.
5. Menzies-Gow A, et al. A Charter to Improve Patient Care in Severe Asthma. Adv Ther. 2018 35:1485–1496
6. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Severe Asthma. Available at: https://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/asthma-library/severe-asthma
Veeva ID: Z4-24879
Date of preparation: June 2020