Pilot study of a randomized trial to evaluate a Web-based intervention targeting adolescents presenting to the emergency department with acute asthma

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Pilot Feasibility Stud


BACKGROUND: Low-income African-American adolescents use preventive medical services less frequently than their White counterparts, indicating a need for effective interventions targeting this group. Puff City is a Web-based, asthma management program for urban adolescents that has been evaluated in high school settings with promising results. The objective of this pilot was to assess the feasibility of initiating Puff City (treatment) in an emergency department setting, thereby informing the conduct of an individual randomized trial to evaluate its effectiveness compared to a generic, Web-based program (control) in preventing subsequent emergency department (ED) visits.

METHOD: Teens aged 13–19 years presenting with acute asthma to two urban EDs within the study period were eligible. Subsequent ED visits were collected using the electronic medical record. A priori indication of a potential intervention effect was p < 0.20.

RESULTS: Of the 121 teens randomized (65 treatment, 56 control), 86.0% were African-American and 44.6% male, with the mean age = 15.4 years. Computer ownership was reported by 76.8% of teens. Overall, 64.5% of teens completed >3 of 4 sessions and 90% completed the 12-month survey. At 12 months, the treatment group showed a trend toward fewer ED visits than controls (33.8 versus 46.4%),

CONCLUSIONS: Results indicate the feasibility of enrolling at-risk adolescents in ED settings and set the stage for a large, pragmatic trial using a technology-based intervention to reduce the burden of pediatric asthma.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT01695031.

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