PCORI has identified childhood asthma in African Americans and Hispanics/Latinos as an important research topic. Asthma affects African-American and Hispanic/Latino people at higher rates than whites, but African-American and Hispanic/Latino children are less likely to receive recommended care. Patients, clinicians, and others want to learn: What interventions will best help doctors and families assure that children receive the care recommended by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute? To answer this question, PCORI launched a funding initiative in 2013 on Treatment Options for African Americans and Hispanics/Latinos with Uncontrolled Asthma. This research project is one of the studies PCORI awarded as part of this program.
This research project is in progress. PCORI will post the research findings on this page within 90 days after the results are final.
What is the research about?
Asthma is a health problem that affects the airways in the body that carry air to the lungs. Asthma can make it hard for people to breathe. Many things can trigger asthma, including pollen, dust, and pollution. Some patients have trouble controlling their asthma with medicines alone. When these patients remove or reduce triggers in their homes, it can help them control their asthma symptoms.
Usually, patients get care for and advice about asthma at the doctor’s office. The research team wants to find out if helping patients remove or reduce asthma triggers in their homes can help them control their asthma better than when they only get care at the doctor’s office. The team is conducting the study with African Americans with asthma in Harris County, Texas, which includes the city of Houston. African-American adults with asthma living in this area die at twice the rate of white or Hispanic/Latino adults with asthma living in the same area.
Who can this research help?
This study can help healthcare system leaders, payers, and providers decide whether to offer home visits along with clinical care to help patients control their asthma.
What is the research team doing?
Researchers are enrolling 264 African-American adults ages 18 and older who have poorly controlled asthma and live in the city of Houston and Harris County, Texas. The research team is assigning patients to one of two groups by chance.
Patients in both groups receive enhanced clinical care. This type of care includes office visits to test for allergies and get information about patients’ exposure to asthma triggers; asthma education; and an asthma management plan.
Patients in the second group also get five home visits from a community health worker over the course of one year. Home visits include checking the home to find asthma triggers. Community health workers also offer low-cost options to reduce asthma triggers such as pillow covers and pest control products. They also help patients learn how to manage their asthma. Community health workers also refer patients for other services (e.g., to the city’s Housing Authority or to a doctor specially trained to treat asthma).
The researchers want to see which approach works better after 12 months. The team wants to know if adding home visits helps patients breathe better, control their asthma symptoms, and improve their quality of life. The team also wants to know if adding home visits helps patients make fewer trips to the emergency room, hospital, or clinic for asthma care.
The research team is working to make sure the study includes input from patients and others who are concerned about asthma in the Houston area.