Anthem's new digital tool tackles asthma care disparities

Anthem has launched a new online tool to help providers understand ways they can improve asthma care. (Photo Credit: Getty/Remains)

Anthem has launched a new online tool to help providers understand ways they can improve asthma care and the disparities that exist between people of different races and ethnicities who are afflicted with the condition.

The tool, called Moving Toward Equality in Asthma Care, is designed to increase physicians’ awareness of gaps that may exist in asthma care and to better facilitate conversations with people seeking treatment, Anthem announced. Studies suggest that Hispanics and blacks are less likely to use daily controllers of asthma symptoms and may be more likely to visit the emergency department for asthma-related symptoms, the announcement notes.

“The reasons health disparities exist are varied and complex," Craig Samitt, M.D., Anthem’s chief clinical officer, said in the announcement. "But creating a collaborative environment where we can better understand these gaps and deliver culturally appropriate asthma care is necessary if we want to improve the quality of life for patients who live with asthma every day.”

The tool includes presentations that highlight how common racial and ethnic asthma disparities affect different populations’ ability to control their asthma. It also links to other resources for providers, and can be accessed for free from a computer, tablet or smartphone.

Online tools and mobile apps also can help asthma patients themselves better manage their conditions, according to a report released this summer. The adoption and development of devices such as smart inhalers could ignite a “complete digital health revolution," according to the nonprofit group Asthma UK.

However, research published in October found that mobile asthma apps may not have reached their full potential, and need further refinement to be useful for people with the condition.