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The use of lung function testing for the diagnosis and management of chronic airways disease

This demonstration data linkage study investigates the use of lung function testing in the diagnosis and management of chronic airways disease. It uses data from the 45 and Up Study linked to Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) data. The study shows that: - contrary to recommended guidelines, most study participants (82%) initiated on medications for managing their chronic airways disease did not have lung function testing performed within 12 months, either before or after their initial prescription - among respondents who reported having current asthma, lung function testing was only claimed for about one-quarter (26%) in a recent 3-year period and 12% had only 1 lung function test claim during that time.The evidence from this study will inform initiatives to help improve appropriate prescribing and health outcomes for people with chronic airways disease. This project also provides a demonstration of methods that could also potentially be used to fill evidence gaps associated with other chronic diseases such as diabetes, arthritis and cancer.

Respiratory medication use in Australia 2003–2013: treatment of asthma and COPD

This report describes patterns of dispensing of respiratory medications in Australia through detailed analyses of Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) data, as well as other sources, to draw inferences about respiratory medication use among patients with asthma and COPD. It provides a valuable update and new information about the use of medicines for asthma and COPD, thus improving our knowledge and understanding about how these diseases are managed in Australia.

Mortality from asthma and COPD in Australia

Asthma death rates in Australia are high compared with many other countries and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a leading cause of deaths in Australia and internationally. This report provides current information about mortality due to these conditions in Australia, examining trends over time, seasonal variation, international comparison and variation by age, sex, remoteness, Indigenous status, country of birth and socioeconomic disadvantage.

Monitoring asthma in pregnancy: a discussion paper

Asthma in pregnant women may have adverse effects on maternal, fetal and infant outcomes, particularly if expectant mothers experience an exacerbation of asthma while pregnant. Pregnancy, in turn, may have adverse effects on asthma control among expectant mothers. This report outlines a proposed approach to monitoring asthma during pregnancy by capitalising on existing data sources as well as identifying data development opportunities.

Asthma hospitalisations in Australia 2010-11

This report provides an overview of hospitalisation patterns over time and across population groups. Asthma hospitalisation rates decreased between 1998-99 and 2010-11, by 33% for children and 45% for adults. The rate of hospitalisation for asthma among Indigenous Australians was 2.1 times the rate for Other Australians. Asthma hospitalisation rates were also higher for people living in areas with lower socioeconomic status.

Geographic distribution of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease hospitalisations in Australia: 2007-08 to 2009-10

This report investigates how hospitalisation rates for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) vary across Australia. Maps in the report show higher hospitalisation rates for both asthma and COPD in inland and rural areas of Australia. Socioeconomic status, remoteness and the proportion of the population that identifies as Indigenous all have a significant association with the hospitalisation rates for asthma and COPD by area.

Vaccination uptake among people with chronic respiratory disease

Research has shown that vaccinations against influenza and pneumococcal infection can benefit people with obstructive airways disease, which includes asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This report reviews the limited information available in Australia on how many people with asthma and COPD have the vaccination, and finds that the uptake rate is not as high as would be expected if recommendations were being followed.It presents a range of data improvement options that would enhance our ability to monitor vaccination uptake in this and other at-risk population groups.

Medications prescribed for people with obstructive airways disease: antibiotics and inhaled corticosteroids

Appropriate use of medications is important in maximising health benefits for patients, minimising the negative effects of medications, and controlling health costs. This report focuses on the appropriate use of certain medications for the management of obstructive airways disease, including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).Data in this report suggest that antibiotics are commonly used among patients with asthma and COPD, and that supply patterns for inhaled corticosteroids are often not consistent with treatment guidelines for the management of these conditions.

Allergic rhinitis ('hay fever') in Australia

Hay fever is a term commonly used to refer to allergic rhinitis caused by seasonal exposure to pollen. Allergic rhinitis can cause significant irritation and interference in a sufferer's daily activities, considerably reducing their quality of life. It is one of the most common chronic respiratory conditions in Australia, affecting around 15% of Australians or 3.1 million people. The amount of money paid by community pharmacies to wholesalers for medications commonly used to treat allergic rhinitis doubled between 2001 ($107.8 million) and 2010 ($226.8 million).

Asthma in Australia 2011: with a focus chapter on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Asthma is an important health problem in Australia. This report brings together data from a wide range of sources to describe the current status of asthma in Australia. It includes information on the number of people who have asthma and who visit their general practitioner, are hospitalised or die due to asthma. Time trends and profiles of people who receive various treatments for asthma are also presented, along with information on those who have written asthma action plans. In addition, comorbidities and quality of life among people with asthma are also investigated. This report also includes a chapter that focuses on chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases in Australians aged 55 years and over.

Time trends and geographical variation in re-admissions for asthma in Australia

Re-admissions for asthma can be considered an indicator of health system performance in relation to the management of patients with asthma. This bulletin examines the overall rate of re-admissions for asthmas in Australian and investigates time trends in re-admissions for asthmas as well as differences according to age, sex, socioeconomic status and remoteness of residence.

Asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other respiratory diseases in Australia

In 2004-05, Australia spent $3.3 billion directly on the management of respiratory conditions. In 2007-08, general practitioners managed respiratory problems more than any other condition and in 2006 conditions of the respiratory system were the third most common underlying causes of death. This report presents the epidemiology of each of the main respiratory conditions and highlights their differences and similarities. The conditions addressed include asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, allergic rhinitis, chronic sinusitis, influenza, pneumonia, bronchiectasis, cystic fibrosis, pneumoconiosis and sleep apnoea.

Asthma among older people in Australia

Over 92% of the 402 asthma deaths in 2006 were among people aged 45 years and over. Asthma in older Australians is distinct in many ways. The presence of comorbid conditions makes the management of asthma in older people more complex. The disease itself is also more persistent and severe than in the younger ages.

Monitoring the impact of air pollution on asthma in Australia: a methods paper

Air pollution can trigger asthma and, in severe cases, has been associated with hospitalisation and death. How much of a problem is air pollution though? What proportion of asthma exacerbations are due to air pollution each year? How much does this vary with extreme events such as bushfires and dust storms? This paper discusses the challenges associated with this type of monitoring, outlines the work that has so far been done in Australia in this area and presents a method for estimating the contribution of air pollution to asthma hospitalisations. The method has been applied to a particular case study 'Melbourne in 2006' to test its potential usefulness.

Asthma in Australian children: findings from Growing Up in Australia, the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children

Within the first 3 years of life, 16.9% of infants experience asthma or wheeze. Among non-asthmatic children aged 4 to 5 years, 4.1% will develop asthma by the seventh year of life. These and other new insights into the incidence, natural progression and outcomes associated with childhood asthma are presented in this report, based on analysis of Growing up in Australia: the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children.

Burden of disease due to asthma in Australia 2003

In 2003 asthma was the leading cause of burden of disease in Australian children, contributing 17.4% of total DALYs and the eleventh-leading contributor to the overall burden of disease in Australia, accounting for 2.4% of the total number of DALYs. Asthma also contributed a substantial proportion to the Indigenous health gap in the burden of non-communicable conditions. It is predicted that asthma will continue to rank as one of the major causes of disease burden in Australia for the next 2 decades, particularly among females.

Refining national asthma indicators: Delphi survey and correlation analysis

This report is the result of a systematic review undertaken by the Australian Centre for Asthma Monitoring (ACAM) to refine and simplify asthma monitoring in Australia. A Delphi survey and correlation analysis were used to review the currently recommended list of 24 national asthma indicators in order to identify a smaller set of core indicators, which provide the most important and relevant information and which are more effective at signalling change for future asthma monitoring activities.

General practice in Australia, health priorities and policies 1998 to 2008

This report looks extensively at changes in the activities of GPs from 1998 to 2008 in the light of numerous government initiatives and changes in the GP workforce and in the population. It shows that GP activity generally correlates well with health policy initiatives and clinical guidelines, notably with Type 2 diabetes and the control of asthma and high blood cholesterol levels. In some areas, however, there is less evidence of an effect so far. The report also raises some potential concerns about the costs from the continued rapid growth in orders for pathology testing and the overall challenge for the GP workforce in dealing with an ageing population with complex needs. Edited by Britt H and Miller GC.

Asthma in Australia 2008

Asthma is an important health problem in Australia. This report brings together data from a wide range of sources to describe the current status of asthma in Australia. It includes information on the number of people who have asthma and who visit their GP, are hospitalised or die due to asthma. Time trends and profiles of people who receive various treatments for asthma are also presented, along with information on those who have written asthma action plans. In addition, comorbidities and quality of life among people with asthma are investigated. This report also includes a chapter that focuses on asthma among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

Occupational asthma in Australia

This bulletin includes a discussion of the monitoring and surveillance of the disease and its risk factors.

Statistical methods for monitoring asthma

This statistical procedure manual documents and shares the experience of the Australian Centre for Asthma Monitoring (ACAM) in analysing national asthma-specific population data. Since its formation in 2002, ACAM have undertaken extensive analyses of a wide range of administrative and population health data to monitor asthma in Australia. In this manual, the approaches developed by ACAM for interrogating large population datasets from the point of receipt until delivery of final analyses are documented. It is anticipated that the principles applied in relation to interrogating data for asthma monitoring purposes will also be applicable to other chronic disease areas.

Australian asthma indicators: five-year review of asthma monitoring in Australia

In 2004, the Australian Centre for Asthma Monitoring reviewed the proposal indicators for monitoring asthma in Australia and published a set of recommended indicators. An accompanying data development plan was published in 2005. This report reviews the outcomes of the indicator review, the lessons learnt through experience with various data sources, progress so far with asthma data development and where national asthma monitoring might go in the future.

Survey questions for monitoring national asthma indicators

This report provides a recommended module of survey questions that can be used to monitor national asthma indicators. This is to assist those who are conducting surveys to select reliable questions that can be used to collect key information about asthma such as prevalence, management issues, level of disease control and impacts of the disease on the health system and individuals.

Patterns of asthma medication use in Australia

Drug therapy is the cornerstone of treatment for controlling asthma and preventing and relieving attacks. This report describes the first study to use national data from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) to investigate the patterns of asthma medication use in Australia. It examines the effects of sociodemographic characteristics on the frequency of use of these medications, the potency of prescribed medications and the relationships between different classes of asthma medications. The methods used in this study are likely to be applicable to researchers investigating medication use for other conditions and diseases. The results will also be of interest to clinicians and policy makers in asthma.

Asthma in Australia: findings from the 2004-05 National Health Survey

This report presents asthma results from the 2004-05 National Health Survey. The National Health Survey is conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics every three years and currently provides the only nation-wide source of self-reported experiences with asthma including prevalence, management, quality of life and health-related behaviours. This report makes comparisons between people with and without asthma, investigates the effect of social and demographic characteristics and compares the findings from this, most recent, survey with those the previous National Health Survey conducted in 2001. It will be of value to all those interested in having updated information on the status of asthma in Australia, such as those involved in asthma care and government policy makers.

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