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Development of an electronic pictorial asthma action plan and its use in primary care

Roberts, Nicola J.; Evans, Gareth; Blenkhorn, Paul; Partridge, Martyn R.


Gareth Evans

Paul Blenkhorn

Martyn R. Partridge


Self-management education and the issuing of a written action plan improve outcomes for asthma. Many do not receive a plan and some cannot use the written word. We have developed an electronic pictorial asthma action plan (E-PAAP).

A pictorial action plan was incorporated into a software package. 21 general practices were offered this tool and the software was loaded onto 63 desktop computers (46 GPs and 17 nurses). Usage was assessed and health care professionals questioned as to its use.

190 plans had been printed in a 4-month period (17 for test purposes). The individual usage rate ranged from 0 to 28 plans. Doctors printed 73% (139/190) a mean of 3 per doctor and nurses printed 27% a mean of 2 per nurse (37/190). Excluding the test copies, 116/173(67%) were printed as picture and text together.

Nearly half of all healthcare professionals used the E-PAAP software. Usage was skewed with some individuals using the software significantly more than others. The software package should help overcome problems of access to paper templates, by calculating peak flow action thresholds and by prompting correct completion. Barriers to the use of asthma action plans, such as perceived time constraints, persist.

Practice implications
The development of an electronic asthma action plan facilitates health professional access to a basic template and prompts the user as to correct usage. It is to be hoped that such facilitation enhances the number of action plans issued and in this study GPs were greater users than the nurses.


Roberts, N. J., Evans, G., Blenkhorn, P., & Partridge, M. R. (2010). Development of an electronic pictorial asthma action plan and its use in primary care. Patient Education and Counseling, 80(1), 141-146.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 16, 2009
Online Publication Date Oct 29, 2009
Publication Date 2010-07
Deposit Date Aug 30, 2022
Journal Patient Education and Counseling
Print ISSN 0738-3991
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 80
Issue 1
Pages 141-146
Keywords Self-management, Asthma, Pictorial, Health literacy, Electronic plans, Primary care
Public URL