FAQ for People with Asthma About the Asthma Outcomes Report
What is an outcome?
An outcome is a measure used by researchers to assess a disease during the course of a study.
Why was the report developed?
Asthma is a major public health concern that affects more than 25 million Americans. Although it can be managed with proper treatment, there is no cure.
National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded research has led to improvements in asthma management and treatment, but because the same outcomes are not used in all studies, it is difficult to compare results between individual studies. This slows down the progress and potentially reduces the impact of asthma research.
How does the report affect people participating in asthma clinical studies?
People enrolled in asthma clinical trials supported by NIH will continue to receive the same level of care and treatment that they would receive in any NIH-funded trial. The report affects what data asthma researchers collect during a clinical trial and not the level of care that participants receive.
How does the report impact current asthma research?
The report does not affect asthma clinical studies that began prior to its publication.
How does the report impact future asthma research in the short term?
Based on the recommendations of the report, NIH and other federal agencies will require the inclusion of the proposed outcomes in future government-funded asthma clinical research, such as trials of new treatments or prevention strategies and studies aimed at characterizing and understanding asthma.
By using the same set of outcomes in all asthma clinical research studies, researchers will be able to compare their results in an efficient manner. This efficiency will enhance the development of new treatments and prevention strategies and promises to lead to improvements in the quality of health care for this condition.
How does the report impact future asthma research in the longer term?
Eventually it is hoped that the outcomes will be used in all asthma clinical trials funded by federal agencies, the pharmaceutical industry, or private research organizations.
What are the outcomes in the report?
The final report identifies seven groups of outcomes that are important in asthma clinical research studies. These outcomes are symptoms, exacerbations (asthma attacks), biomarkers (biological substances that act as measures of the disease), lung function, quality of life, asthma control questionnaire results, and healthcare utilization and costs.
The final report was published as a supplement to the March 2012 issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. Read the full report.
Who wrote the report?
The report was developed as the result of a workshop held on March 15 and 16, 2010, organized by NIH Institutes, including NIAID; the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, as well as the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Merck Childhood Asthma Network. Additional support for the publication was provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Representatives from these organizations formed the workshop’s planning committee. See the members of the planning committee. The planning committee selected 79 asthma researchers with expertise in adult asthma, pediatric asthma, respiratory medicine, allergy/immunology, pharmacology, biostatistics, primary care, and behavioral/social science, who formed seven subcommittees that developed the report. See the members of the subcommittees.
Each subcommittee developed a draft article on a specific outcome, based on an extensive literature search and their expertise. The seven draft articles were discussed at the 2010 workshop, which was attended by members of the planning committee, the seven subcommittees, and representatives from other federal agencies with asthma programs, the pharmaceutical industry, and healthcare policy groups. See the other workshop attendees.
Recommendations from all participants were considered as the subcommittees revised their articles and formed the final workshop report.
Last Updated February 29, 2012
Last Reviewed February 14, 2012